Letter to the Editor from Jillian Rose Ziemann

For those of you who do not live the greater Washtenaw County Area, you can ignore this…  Public Transportation is now on the table in our area. I have been trying to do some research, lets be honest the material is boring at times, but this is an important issue to me. The fact of the matter is; I am a stay at home Mom with three children, and currently we only have 1 car. The price of gas is going down (election time after all), but it is still un-affordable. At a first glance the idea of public transportation seems like a good one! But I can see some problems arising from it as well. So I would like to share my thoughts here, and see if anyone has any input.

On the Pro column: you have single car families, elderly, and car-less citizens that will have a mode of secondary transportation. You also have the chance of getting citizens a mode of getting to work, and therefore able to obtain a job. There is the chance that you will help the economy by allowing people to travel to businesses. This does however come with a downfall, if Milan-ites are able to travel easily and cheaply to other cities, does that mean they will do their shopping elsewhere?

So that leads me on to the Con’s column. At first I couldn’t think of a con. Really when I heard about this plan I was thinking: “Oh yeah, I am going to be able to leave this house, without having to purchase another car”! And then I started doing some reading. My first thought was, what about our small shops? What about our Dollar store, our salons, our restaurants? Will having easier transportation to bigger cities cost our business’? Will public transportation make filling our currently empty commercial buildings, impossible?

And then I automatically started thinking about cost (hey, what can I say, I am admittedly cheap). I read up a bit on this too. The program will cost approximately 223 Million dollars over 5 years. They estimate revenue will be at $184 Million. That leaves $39 Million that will be paid by the communities that elect to join the program. Currently they are talking about a .58 millage, which is higher taxes folks! And not only higher taxes, but Milan residents would be paying that millage for 3 years before routes are started in our town.  They (Moving You Forward) have also talked about other methods to make up the estimated $39 million. They have also discussed having an additional vehicle registration fee of $38 per vehicle, or an increased sales tax in Washtenaw County of 1%. So basically, if Milan opts in, you will be paying for this service. You can decide if you ride, but you will be paying for it regardless.

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