An advocate for the disabled will represent Detroit on a new regional transit authority board.
Mayor Dave Bing announced his selection of Lisa Franklin during his state of the city address last week.
Franklin is the President of Warriors on Wheels. That group has built expertise and credibility as they’ve fought to draw attention to systemic dysfunction in Detroit’s transit system, particularly for the disabled.
Franklin said she’s genuinely excited about her appointment. She believes the authority’s first overarching task is to outline a unified vision for mass transit in Metro Detroit.
“Personally, I would like for us to all sit down and figure out what we want. The best possible service that we can have,” Franklin said. “And then from that point we need to figure out how to connect all of the dots, and then figure out how much it will cost and how we can pay for it.”
Franklin also brings her perspective as a Detroiter who relies on transit. She said one of her main concerns will be how to build a functional and unified public transit system overburdening the low-income people who rely on transit the most.
“I’m hoping that we can connect all of the counties, so that people can go to work, go to doctor’s appointments, without any limitations,” Franklin said.
Governor Snyder just signed Regional Transit Authority was signed into law just last December, and likely won’t start meeting for several more months.
It joins representatives from Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Macomb counties and the city of Detroit to coordinate Metro Detroit’s historically fragmented public transit systems.
The authority likely won’t get rolling until later this year. Besides Detroit, only Washtenaw county has appointed representatives. Once the full board is seated, they’ll need to pick a director.
The U.S. Department of Transportation had withheld millions to build up Detroit area transit--including a proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) line--until an RTA was formed.