A new regional transit authority is coming to southeast Michigan, thanks to a 57-50 approval of the bill in the state House of Representatives on Thursday. Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign the bill into law in the near future.
Under the terms of the bill, a seven-member board will oversee the operation of the new agency. Two members each will be supplied from Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties; the seventh member will be from Detroit. The agency’s mandate will include coordinating city and suburban bus service from the Detroit Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit (SMART).
While the agency will be able to seek millages to run public transportation, approval from all three member counties will be required before they can be put to a public vote.
A large portion of the agency’s initial focus will be on persuading federal officials to contribute funds for a new light rail line from downtown Detroit to the New Center area.