Regional transit is a great tool for economic development and one that would greatly benefit the Detroit Metro area. However, the bills as presented in the Senate contained a serious flaw. This legislation did not provide enough protection to citizens against eminent domain. As passed, Senate Bill 909 will allow a Regional Transit Authority to acquire property for a public transit system. The power to take someone's property is a very serious issue and should not be executed by a non-elected board. Those that implement it should be directly accountable to the public.
Eminent domain is a sensitive subject for property owners throughout Michigan. The residents in my district could be greatly affected should the Regional Transit Authority decide to use this power. Before voting on an issue I always consider the impact it might have on my community and neighbors. I took an oath to represent them and echo their voices in Lansing. This legislation, though well intended, has the potential to displace residents in my district. An efficient regional transit system will be a great asset to our region; I just don't believe a grandmother should lose her home because it's a convenient place to put a bus station.
I fully support the idea of regional transit and see the great potential it has for our city and region. I hope that my colleagues in the House of Representatives will eliminate this provision so that we can all move forward in the creating a desirable and prosperous region.