Letter: Oakland County needs transit, too

Oakland Country is a bubble, and that’s not right.

I grew up in West Bloomfield, and the commute by car to Detroit is only 45 minutes. But it is fair to say that like so many other folks who live in Oakland Country, Detroit feels like a world away.

For many Detroiters who depend on public transportation, the suburbs of Oakland County mine as well be a world away; the commute is near impossible and even if buses were on time, it would take hours.

On Nov. 8, we all have the opportunity to pop the bubble around West Bloomfield and Oakland County by voting yes on the Regional Transit Authority initiative.

Currently, four separate transit systems are operating across southeast Michigan, creating havoc and instability for folks who depend on public transit in order to get to work, school, and exercise their independence for movement. As it exists today, the transit system does not provide nearly enough access to folks with disabilities and seniors, which means they are confined to their residence and have no agency for movement.

If it were to pass, the RTA initiative would support upwards of 67,800 regional jobs and create nearly $6 billion in Gross Regional Product. Morally, logistically and economically, the RTA initiative is advantageous for many who live in Southeast Michigan.

Detroiters need better access to our abundance and we need to listen to their needs and stand with them as partners to help resolve them. Proper transit is the vehicle that can begin to open better opportunities and resources to folks who need jobs, education, hospitals, and greater access to social systems. For an average of only $96 per household per year, we have an obligation to vote yes on the Regional Transit initiative.

The urgency of passing the transit initiative cannot be understated. If we fail to pass the initiative this year, the RTA will not be able to fund their work and we will have to wait years before work on transit can begin again. We are on the precipice of social change and we must take advantage of it.

Eli Zucker, intern

Detroit Jews For Justice