Ann Arborites will pay for more buses

May 6, 2014

Ann Arbor stayed true to its reputation for being eco-loving and tax-friendly in today's vote to expand the local bus system.

It was a landslide vote in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, through just 20,000 voters turned out.
Credit GsGeorge / WIKIMEDIA Commons

Some 20,000 Ann Arborites went to the polls Tuesday, with 70% of them voting for more buses running expanded routes for longer hours. 

There's a price tag, of course: higher property taxes.

The millage will cost about $70 a year for a resident whose house is worth $200,000. 

Opponents of the expansion argued that this wasn't a smart move, given that housing in Ann Arbor isn't cheap to begin with.

But for people like Arielle Fleischer, it's a worthwhile down payment on the city's future. 

"I know a lot of people really use (the buses) to get to jobs, to get to work. It's a real lifeline. And I think with this, extending services on weekends, and making services longer in the day, it's going to help our area out economically, allow people to get to their jobs," she says.

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority says ridership is way up over recent decades, and with the city's population expected to keep growing, the AATA argues that more buses will mean less traffic, will curb the demand for downtown parking, and reduce local emissions.  

Resident Stevie Blyler says that's worth the extra taxes.

"Would you pay that much in gas, to drive to the store? Because I probably pay more than that in a year in fuel, to use my car instead of a bus," Blyler said.