Tuesday, May 14th, The Detroit NAACP held its bi-monthly Allies, Issues, and Action Meeting. Entitled, “A Conversation with Black Women in Public Transit”. With over 50 people in attendance, we were able to get detailed insight on Transit issues; past, present and future, in Southeastern Michigan. The Detroit Branch NAACP prides itself on being able to bring people together to discuss very important issues. On May 14th, we put four extremely talented and very knowledgeable black women together who all work in the public transit industry in Southeastern Michigan together in one place to discuss transportation. It was enlightening and educational to say the least. This discussion allowed our Allies to get a broad view from many different angels on Transportation in Michigan.
Tiffany Gunter, Transportation Planner for S.E.M.C.O.G. was one of the four guest panelist. Mrs. Gunter discussed the old SEMCOG and the new SEMCOG. “Currently SEMCOG is all about Metro Planning, Providing data and as much input as possible in the mass transit planning process. We are currently working on the Woodward Transit Alternative Analysis, a 27 mile project from the Detroit River to Pontiac.
Former State Representative Shanelle Jackson, Outreach and Strategic Relationships for Regional Transit Authority (RTA), talked about the newly formed RTA. She Listed every Board member on RTA and spoke about their responsibilities. ” We are Currently in the process of creating a Citizens Advisory Committee.” She also spoke briefly about the Funding for RTA and the possibility of a ballot initiative in 2014 to levy new tax revenue to help fund the Regional Transit Authority. ” RTA’s job is to coordinate existing transit organizations and help to make those organizations as efficient and effective as possible throughout the southeaster region.
Ruth Johnson, Assistant Director, Transportation Riders United spoke in detail from a riders perspective. She applauded the new creation of RTA and is excited about the future of mass transit in Detroit. ” We have to realize that there is great potential in the future of Transit in Southeastern Michigan.” Ms. Johnson spoke about the importance of keeping DDOT funding stabilized and how Transportation Riders United (TRU) is working hard everyday to get input from transit riders through Transit Rider Surveys.
Former State Representative Triette Reeves, Director of External Affairs for DDOT, spoke about transportation from a policy standpoint. “Mass Transportation is a necessity!” Ms. Reeves spoke in detail about the future of DDOT. ” DDOT missed out on $7 million because of the formula used by SEMCOG. We believe the formula should have been based on Ridership not asset analysis.” Triette went on to say, “RTA has the power of defying up the transit resources and we all need to pay attention to were the resources are going.”