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Gov. Snyder Reaffirms His Plan To Increase Taxes for Michigan Public Transit, But Will Detroit Voters Agree?


After Republican governors across the country — including Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder — spoke out in support of higher state taxes, experts are predicting that Detroit’s infrastructure might be too broken to shoulder the burden of another tax hike.

It’s no secret that the city of Detroit has been struggling to land on solid ground after recently declaring bankruptcy — the entire state of Michigan has been struggling for the better part of a decade, for that matter. Its public transportation desperately needs an overhaul, and that’s exactly what Gov. Snyder’s proposal would address.

The proposal, which Michigan residents will vote on during the May statewide referendum, would raise an estimated $1.2 billion of funding for the state’s transportation department.

The city of Detroit, in particular, would benefit quite a bit from a better public transportation system. The city’s Regional Transit Authority has already announced that it plans to create its own proposal, to be voted on in the 2016 election, which would increase transportation funds.

As a recent U.S. News and World Report article states, “The Motor City is desperate for the increased mobility that the Regional Transit Authority aims to bring.”

According to a research study conducted by the University of Michigan, the number of households without cars is increasing faster in Detroit than in any other city nationwide — which is good for environmentalists, but not great for city residents who struggle to reach their jobs.

The University of Minnesota found that less than 5% of Detroit jobs are accessible in under an hour via public transportation. Considering that 62% of working city residents are employed outside of the city, and about 72% of those employed in the city are residents elsewhere, it’s no surprise that the city’s shoddy public transit routes are falling apart.

The problem is ultimately this: Detroit’s bankruptcy has created a ripple effect on its residents. Many people in the city can’t afford the average $31,000 that a new car costs, but economists aren’t sure if taxpayers will approve two separate tax increases without proof that the public transportation systems would definitely improve.

While decrepit public transportation lines are problematic for many cities across the country, none of those cities have suffered the same hardships as Detroit. It’s a good thing that this city possesses some of the most resilient residents in the U.S. today.

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