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  1. #1

    Default Regional transit -- stick a fork in it

    I'm afraid Regional Transit suffered a blow it probably cannot recover from. The Macomb County voters who defeated this money-grab should be cheered for their foresight.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...robe/98632888/

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by eastland View Post
    I'm afraid Regional Transit suffered a blow it probably cannot recover from. The Macomb County voters who defeated this money-grab should be cheered for their foresight.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...robe/98632888/
    I think you're trying to make this in to more than it is simply to support your position.

    $19k is nothing for someone at his level and it sounds like it was due to unclear contract terms rather than a deliberate misuse of funds. This is going to have zero impact on the future, positive or negative, of the RTA or for that matter, Mr. Ford's career.

  3. #3

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    $19K is nothing? Really?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by ParisianLesion View Post
    I think you're trying to make this in to more than it is simply to support your position.

    $19k is nothing for someone at his level and it sounds like it was due to unclear contract terms rather than a deliberate misuse of funds. This is going to have zero impact on the future, positive or negative, of the RTA or for that matter, Mr. Ford's career.
    You would hope that's the case, but keep in mind that our future with respect to regional transit is partially tied to the will of voters in a county that elected a guy who think it's OK to grab women by the pussy as well as a guy who casually discusses black women looking like apes and mocks mentally disabled people.
    Last edited by 313WX; March-03-17 at 12:57 AM.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by eastland View Post
    I'm afraid Regional Transit suffered a blow it probably cannot recover from. The Macomb County voters who defeated this money-grab should be cheered for their foresight.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...robe/98632888/
    This guy seems to have a problem with expenses. So, find a new chief. But that says nothing about the RTA, and Macomb voters still did vast damage to the region (including Macomb county) with their short-sighted decision not to fund regional transit at a rate that's only a tiny fraction of what successful cities spend.

  6. #6

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    RTA should nip this in the bud with this guy to gain the afrocentric , nose turned up at transit, suburbanites who want to find any petty reason not to support mass transit. Many of them would say that they don't use transit but will go to a Tigers, Red Wings, Lions, and will go to a Pistons game while pay hiked up parking prices or their cars being towed away or broken into. I had parked my car at a shopping center's parking lot and caught the Reflex bus downtown to nighttime or weekend events

  7. #7

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    ^^^ "Afrocentric" ?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Junjie View Post
    This guy seems to have a problem with expenses. So, find a new chief. But that says nothing about the RTA, and Macomb voters still did vast damage to the region (including Macomb county) with their short-sighted decision not to fund regional transit at a rate that's only a tiny fraction of what successful cities spend.

    sorry people voted yes in Macomb in the southern, half but people up here in Armada, Romeo etc..voted no, because it wouldn't help us at all, if RTA would gave us some transit service we would voted yes, why should we support RTA for no service, put a line up here that's gos to 23 mile and van dyke or Gratiot, then we would vote yes
    Last edited by scooter; March-03-17 at 07:18 AM.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter View Post
    sorry people voted yes in Macomb in the southern, half but people up here in Armada, Romeo etc..voted no, because it wouldn't help us at all, if RTA would gave us some transit service we would voted yes, why should we support RTA for no service, put a line up here that's gos to 23 mile and van dyke or Gratiot, then we would vote yes
    Jesus, you've gotta be kidding me. This is what is wrong with our region. People refusing to see the forest through the trees. If I lived all the way out in Armada, I wouldn't really expect bus service up by me, at least for the first few years of the RTA. Sure, it might come in the future, but why kill the WHOLE plan, just because the bus doesn't come out to bumfuck wherever? The benefit to the region as a whole would've been huge. So selfish to think that every house and home deserves a bus stop right next door, even when you live in an area with no density, tons of feeder and collector roads, sprawling suburbs, strip malls, and tons of personal vehicles. The RTA plan would've connected people who do not have easy access to transportation to jobs. But it would've benefitted EVERYONE in the region through increased property values, more jobs moving to the area, more employed people living and paying taxes in our region, more young people staying here after college... God forbid we catch up our region to the rest of the civilized world, if only they planned that bus stop at Romeo Plank and 32 Mile...
    Last edited by Gsgeorge; March-03-17 at 09:15 AM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter View Post
    sorry people voted yes in Macomb in the southern, half but people up here in Armada, Romeo etc..voted no, because it wouldn't help us at all, if RTA would gave us some transit service we would voted yes, why should we support RTA for no service, put a line up here that's gos to 23 mile and van dyke or Gratiot, then we would vote yes
    First, OMG DID YOU EVEN LOOK AT THE RTA MAP? Sorry to yell, but there was literally an upgraded bus route up to 23 Mile and the Van Dyke Freeway straight into downtown. And the Gratiot BRT route would've gone to Hall Rd.

    Secondly, this is nothing. Sorry, eastland, expenses is nothing new for the private or public sector, just appeared to be a misunderstanding. He's paying it back and good. That's cute you think will somehow destroy regional transit, bless your heart...

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtowncitylover View Post
    First, OMG DID YOU EVEN LOOK AT THE RTA MAP? Sorry to yell, but there was literally an upgraded bus route up to 23 Mile and the Van Dyke Freeway straight into downtown. And the Gratiot BRT route would've gone to Hall Rd.

    Secondly, this is nothing. Sorry, eastland, expenses is nothing new for the private or public sector, just appeared to be a misunderstanding. He's paying it back and good. That's cute you think will somehow destroy regional transit, bless your heart...
    you misunderstood, we needed service up here in Romeo and Armada to get
    to 23 Van Dyke or Gratiot so we could catch it,

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter View Post
    you misunderstood, we needed service up here in Romeo and Armada to get
    to 23 Van Dyke or Gratiot so we could catch it,
    For the record, SMART already has a Connector bus that connects Romeo and Armada to the rest of Macomb. This would've been kept intact. The RTA plan would've only supplemented, not replaced, the SMART service there. If only people had actually looked into the plan, instead of voting with their emotions.

    https://www.smartbus.org/Services/Se...ommunity/Romeo

  13. #13

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    So the RTA CEO had $5300 in cell phone expenses in a little over 2 years? (Maybe even more as that's just what he's agreed to pay back).
    Last edited by Johnnny5; March-03-17 at 09:52 AM.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter View Post
    you misunderstood, we needed service up here in Romeo and Armada to get
    to 23 Van Dyke or Gratiot so we could catch it,
    Then why was Hackel and LBP bitching about whether or not there would be park and rides?! What's the point of park and rides if you also want a bus to come to your front door?

  15. #15

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    The Ford controversy is another public relations blow.
    I doubt if he'll be at the forefront for promoting a renewed effort to get the regional millage now.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtowncitylover View Post
    Then why was Hackel and LBP bitching about whether or not there would be park and rides?! What's the point of park and rides if you also want a bus to come to your front door?
    If you had ever lived up near Romeo or Armada, you would know that 23 and Van Dyke is nowhere near them. You need to drive 10 miles to get there from Romeo and more from Armada. 23 and Gratiot is easily double that. I wouldn't call that your front door. And that's why the Park and Rides

  17. #17

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    Also, this is what happens when you have a bare bones staff and not much checks and balances.

    If Ford goes, I would love if they hired someone that has the guts to call out LBP and Hackel instead of being meek and mild. But that's probably not gonna happen...

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcole View Post
    If you had ever lived up near Romeo or Armada, you would know that 23 and Van Dyke is nowhere near them. You need to drive 10 miles to get there from Romeo and more from Armada. 23 and Gratiot is easily double that. I wouldn't call that your front door. And that's why the Park and Rides
    And I agree with you. But you can't want to live in the country and expect an urban mass transit system to serve you off the bat.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtowncitylover View Post
    And I agree with you. But you can't want to live in the country and expect an urban mass transit system to serve you off the bat.
    Totally true. That being said, you don't live out in the country and expect to be paying up to 10x as much as those in the city for a transit system that you can't use.
    Last edited by Johnnny5; March-03-17 at 10:04 AM.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gsgeorge View Post
    Jesus, you've gotta be kidding me. This is what is wrong with our region. People refusing to see the forest through the trees. If I lived all the way out in Armada, I wouldn't really expect bus service up by me, at least for the first few years of the RTA. Sure, it might come in the future, but why kill the WHOLE plan, just because the bus doesn't come out to bumfuck wherever? The benefit to the region as a whole would've been huge. So selfish to think that every house and home deserves a bus stop right next door, even when you live in an area with no density, tons of feeder and collector roads, sprawling suburbs, strip malls, and tons of personal vehicles. The RTA plan would've connected people who do not have easy access to transportation to jobs. But it would've benefitted EVERYONE in the region through increased property values, more jobs moving to the area, more employed people living and paying taxes in our region, more young people staying here after college... God forbid we catch up our region to the rest of the civilized world, if only they planned that bus stop at Romeo Plank and 32 Mile...
    I share your frustration. Mostly, though, I'm frustrated at the RTA's campaign, which I think was pretty poorly run. Yes, easy to say in retrospect and I'm sure a lot of people worked hard on it, but I'm more critical of them than of folks like scooter.

    1. The messaging focused on poor people and seniors - true enough but "give tax money for charity" is a losing message.

    2. As scooter's post shows, people do not have a good understanding of the fact that they may live in regions that are impossible to serve cost-effectively with transit. Education on transit basics (such as you point to in your post) is very badly needed. Two years of weekly public lectures. Morning show appearances. I don't know. But something.

    3. No publicizing of the fact that this was a very SMALL amount of money being asked for. A little more than 1 years' budget for a major transit agency in a similar sized region, except spread over 20 years for Detroit. Present this as "getting off the ground" - future service may well come to 32 Mile or whatever but it will take more money (see #2).

    And, on the original topic, Ford had similar expense problems in Ann Arbor. His main qualification seemed to be being in charge when they passed the AATA millage, but that was in one small, deeply liberal college town. I'm sure he's a smart guy but given that this seems to be a pattern, we need to poach someone from Denver, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Seattle, or similar with experience getting funding for regional transit in a bigger metro.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnny5 View Post
    Totally true. That being said, you don't live out in the country and expect to be paying up to 10x as much as those in the city for a transit system that you can't use.
    That's fair. But sadly, the region is constitutionally prohibited from using a more equitable measure like a regional sales tax. So the only option I can see is making a very, very good case as to the benefits exurban homeowners will receive even if they don't personally ride the bus - less traffic on the highways, better economic growth, etc. RTA totally failed to do that.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtowncitylover View Post
    And I agree with you. But you can't want to live in the country and expect an urban mass transit system to serve you off the bat.
    I agree that the expectation is not feasible, but when you live in the northern reaches of Macomb or Oakland County and you are expected to fund mass transit, museums, the zoo, etc and you seldom if ever travel south of Lakeside Mall, it seems kind of a waste of your tax dollars when you could be funding a small bus service or car service that would take you to the places you want to go. I lived in Almont, Lapeer County for years and it's kind of like the Land That Time Forgot up there. I never had to vote on any of these issues because Lapeer, but it's only 2 miles north of the Macomb County line so I heard people talk about it and can kind of see what they're talking about. You're actually just as close to Port Huron or Flint when you live north of 32 Mile.

  23. #23

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    I can't believe that someone who moved way out to the middle of nowhere is now whining that they won't get regular bus service. Particularly when they're just going to drive everywhere anyway, which is why such bus service is not anywhere near cost effective (and they'd whine then about the sight of all of those empty buses going out through the fields).

  24. #24

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    You have a better chance of getting northern Oakland County to vote yes on transit; you at least have feeder routes to get you to a reasonably close transit stop. I75 runs through the middle of the county. Once you get north of 27 Mile in Macomb County it's largely rural and there are no expressways to get people connected to much of anything. The largest roads you have are Van Dyke on one side or the county and Gratiot on the other. And a lot of these people didn't move out there; they were born there.
    Last edited by jcole; March-03-17 at 10:32 AM.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Junjie View Post
    I share your frustration. Mostly, though, I'm frustrated at the RTA's campaign, which I think was pretty poorly run. Yes, easy to say in retrospect and I'm sure a lot of people worked hard on it, but I'm more critical of them than of folks like scooter.

    1. The messaging focused on poor people and seniors - true enough but "give tax money for charity" is a losing message.

    2. As scooter's post shows, people do not have a good understanding of the fact that they may live in regions that are impossible to serve cost-effectively with transit. Education on transit basics (such as you point to in your post) is very badly needed. Two years of weekly public lectures. Morning show appearances. I don't know. But something.

    3. No publicizing of the fact that this was a very SMALL amount of money being asked for. A little more than 1 years' budget for a major transit agency in a similar sized region, except spread over 20 years for Detroit. Present this as "getting off the ground" - future service may well come to 32 Mile or whatever but it will take more money (see #2).

    And, on the original topic, Ford had similar expense problems in Ann Arbor. His main qualification seemed to be being in charge when they passed the AATA millage, but that was in one small, deeply liberal college town. I'm sure he's a smart guy but given that this seems to be a pattern, we need to poach someone from Denver, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Seattle, or similar with experience getting funding for regional transit in a bigger metro.
    All excellent points.

    Another point. Mark Hackel has probably done more to thwart regional transit than anyone in the region including LBP. Based upon Mr. Hackel's response to Mr. Ford's screwup, one can only conclude that he simply opposes improved regional transit (even though he occasionally voices tepid support), or that he truly is clueless about transit, economic development and politics. By addressing such a relatively minor matter as these expenses with such a public rebuke, he contributes immeasurably to the political strength of Macomb County's sizable anti tax, anti transit, low information voter bloc. After Mr. Hackel's outburst, now these voter's in their minds don't have to listen to or debate the potential benefits of regional transit, all they will remember is that the transit effort is being run by a black guy who has got his hand in the till.

    Yes, now that this has become such a public mess, Mr. Ford should probably go. Quickly. But a smart politician that understood the issues and actually supported transit would have had no comment to the media and made sure that this was handled in a much quieter and private manner so that it didn't poison transit opportunities for the future. Mr. Hackel didn't do that. He has inflicted a lot of damage. A lot more than Mr. Ford. He is an idiot.

    This is crisis time for the RTA. They need to go out of state for a new CEO. They need to find a Republican who will stand up publicly in support of regional transit and who can help with funding for the next two years.

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