I must admit I was surprised when I read a recent article in the Michigan Capitol Confidential concerning public transportation in Michigan.

Recently Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans have started once again to float an idea of increasing taxes in Detroit and the surrounding area to increase funding to a regional transit authority.  That I am not surprised about but what I was surprised to learn are the number of people who actually use public transportation and even more so the number of people who actually walk to work in Michigan.

Apparently they tried a similar tax proposal back in November 2016, a proposal which would have established $4.6 billion in new property taxes over 20 years for a regional transit authority. The people in those 4 counties did not want the new tax and the proposal failed when 50.5% of voters rejected it.

Some information you might be interested in comes from Michigan’s House Fiscal Agency, 10% of Michigan gas and vehicle registration taxes plus a share of state sales tax collections go to the Comprehensive Transportation Fund. That tax in the 2017-18 fiscal year will generate $335 million, from which it plans to distribute $231 million to local transit agencies.

According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy there are 1.9 million working people who live in the four counties that would be affected by this proposed tax. Of those 1.9 million working people only 36,700 use public transportation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  That is only 2% of the working population, the question then becomes should the other 98% pay via a tax to fund that 2%’s transportation.

Two other numbers of interest, of the 36,700 people in those counties who say they use public transportation only 17,600 are from Detroit.  The number of people state wide who use public transportation is 61,000.

The number that stuck out the most to me was the number 96,000.  What is that number, it is the number of people state wide that say they actually get to work by walking.  The remaining 4 million people who work in Michigan drive to work.

I was surprised to find out that the number of people who walk to work state wide greatly outnumbers the number of people who take public transportation in Detroit (including Wayne County) and the 3 counties that surround Detroit.  Those counties make up about half of Michigan’s population.

Should the 98% of people who live in those counties and do not take public transportation pay for the 2% that do?

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