Editor's Note: AATA CEO Michael Ford has responded to this story. To see the response, click here.

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority has a nearly $1 million deficit projected for fiscal 2011-12 at a time when its top executives are among the highest paid transit bosses in the state.

The AATA has eight employees making $90,000 or more, according to a Freedom of Information Act request. The AATA has 171 employees and a $21.4 million operating budget.

Grand Rapids, which has 308 employees and a $31.9 million operating budget, had four employees making $90,000 or more. Flint, which has a $21 million operating budget, has two employees making $90,000 or more.

Jackson Transit Agency’s highest paid employee is the general manager, who makes $75,524.

The Kalamazoo Metro Transit has one employee making $90,000 or more. The executive director made $102,861 in 2010.

“If these were private-sector businesses operating on their own, employee pay would be none of our business,” said Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “Transit agencies would dry up and blow away without massive taxpayer subsidies and that makes it the people’s business.”

Michael Ford, the CEO of the AATA, was the highest paid administrator at $183,895.

Ford didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

The other AATA administrators making $90,000 or more included: Dawn Gabay, deputy CEO, $116,289; Ed Robertson, human resources director, $104,394; Christopher White, service development manager, $98,274; Philip Webb, controller, $93,514; Ronnie Copeland, transportation manager, $93,344; Terry Black, maintenance manager, $93,063; Janet Hallber, IT manager, $92,529.

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See also:

MichCapCon Coverage of Transit Authorities

Train Station with 78 Daily Riders Gets $1 Million in Stimulus Renovations

Derailed: Michigan Should Heed Greece's Experience with Light Rail

SEMCOG's Crazy Train: What happened to the last $3 million Detroit/AA rail study - Mackinac Center

Randal O'Toole (Cato Institute) discusses High Speed Rail

The Detroit People Mover Still Serves as "a Rich Folks' Roller Coaster"

Cut Train Subsidies to Re-connect Rural Michigan

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