Metro Transit Tax Ad's False Claims About Riders With Disabilities

If the tax hike fails, buses will continue as usual

The organization “Vote Yes for Regional Transit” recently began running a commercial on television in Southeastern Michigan in which a visually impaired woman identified as Geri Feigelson says, “I might lose the buses that I have available to me.” She asks voters to support the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) millage on the ballot in November.

ForTheRecord says: Even though the advertisement strongly implies that the RTA is necessary to maintain the services on which Feigelson depends, the reality is that according to the RTA’s own master plan, none of the region’s transit providers currently plan to decrease service levels. Furthermore, no buses are at risk of being “lost.”

Feigelson has been identified in the media as an Oakland County resident, which means she now has access to door-to-door paratransit service from the suburban transit agency called SMART. For her to lose access to public transit, her local government would have to exercise its right, as many municipalities already do, to opt out of SMART’s existing 1-mill property tax and decline SMART service.

However, the RTA plan has no proposed method of providing paratransit or other local services in suburban Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties other than through SMART. If transit tax fatigue increases the number of opt-out communities in SMART’s service area, the RTA millage itself could end up causing individuals with disabilities to “lose their buses,” as the advertisement warns.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.