Many More Walk To Work As Take Subsidized Transit in Michigan

Politicians talking metro transit tax again, but costly buses and trains benefit few

Some politicians, including Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, are once again talking-up a regional transit property tax proposal for the November ballot in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties.

A similar proposal in November 2016 would have imposed $4.6 billion in new property taxes over 20 years for a regional transit authority. It failed when 50.5 percent of voters rejected the idea.

ForTheRecord says: There are 1.9 million working men and women in the four counties that might vote on another regional transit tax.

Of that number, 36,700 report that they use public transportation to get to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That comes to 2 percent of the region’s working population.

About half (17,600) of those who said they get to work via public transportation are from Detroit. That is out of 215,600 working people who live in the city of Detroit.

Across the state of Michigan, 61,000 people say they commute to work using public transit services; 96,000 people walk and 4 million people drive.

Ten percent of Michigan gas and vehicle registration taxes plus a share of state sales tax collections go to the Comprehensive Transportation Fund. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the fund will receive $335 million, from which it plans to distribute $231 million to local transit agencies, according to the House Fiscal Agency.

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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