RTA millage: On-ramp or off?Last week

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Keith Crain Mary Kramer: A tough sell www.giant-alien.dk , but it’s needed hereSee Mary Kramer’s take on the RTA millage issue here.RTA millage: On-ramp or off?Last week, a millage campaign was launched to ask voters on Nov. 8 to approve a tax that would raise nearly $3 billion over 20 years for a very comprehensive transit system for four counties in Southeast Michigan. It is a very ambitious project, to say the least. Sadly, I fear, it will have a rough road to success.There is no doubt that Detroit and the rest of Southeast Michigan need a modern transit system serving businesses and people. But given the mood of the voters these days, getting any new tax increase, particularly a substantial one like this, seems to have a slim chance of passing.I think the economic benefit of a comprehensive transit system is without question. But I would caution the backers of such a system to rethink the proposal.It probably would have a bigger chance of success if they offered it in smaller bites. If three or four proposals were offered over time, it would be easier to get support from those people and areas affected rather than for a huge proposal. And, although this proposal favors bus rapid transit, the plan should shy away at all costs from fixed rail, even using existing tracks. It’s expensive and impossible to change as commuting patterns change. Buses give planners the option to change routes as population changes. And they can be shifted not just for population changes but for any special event that might pop up on the schedule.Better transit will give city residents a chance to commute to new jobs in suburban communities. But it could also mean some city jobs will shift, too.Southeast Michigan needs a modern mass transit system. But project planners must be cautious and replica designer handbags , above all, realistic. To put all the eggs in one basket would be a huge risk, and one that we should not be forced to take. Related LinksRTA millage a tough sell, but regional transit needed hereDIA exec Annmarie Erickson to step downRegional execs urge Oakland, Macomb to back $4.6 billion regional transit planMetro Detroit transit plan millage fails to get approval for November ballotHave funding, regional issues put RTA plan on road to nowhere?Compromise may allow RTA proposal to go forwardEditorial cartoon: RTA back on the road to a vote

Keith Crain: Regional transit is going to be a very

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