As we move into 2020 we can’t help but look back to see how far we have come over the last decade. Ten years ago, Michigan’s unemployment rate was 12.4% and the auto industry had just begun making profits again. Today, nearly 4.5 million people are employed, and the state’s unemployment rate is 3.9%.

Our region has also made incredible progress in recent years. As we turn our eyes toward this new decade, we need to think about what more we can do to improve the communities we live in. With an economy that is stable and growing, we need to find a way to continue the positive momentum for our region.

In this regard, an improved transit system will play an important role. Access to improved transportation will provide additional options for getting to work and other business and professional appointments. According to the American Public Transportation Association, 87% of trips on public transit have a direct impact on the local economy. Additionally, transit has an important role to play in attracting new businesses to our region and growing employment.

That’s why we support House Bill 5229, which is designed to provide a pathway that will lead to a public vote in support of an improved mass transit system in Southeast Michigan. The amendment will allow interested counties to work with their neighbors on a collaborative mass transit plan and, subject to the approval of the legislative bodies in each jurisdiction, to present that plan to the voters for their consideration and approval.

Countless people in our area would benefit from better public transit. It can reduce traffic congestion for those who still prefer to drive and increase productivity for those who want to work while they commute. It can also allow all residents of Oakland County, including the disabled, elderly and disabled veterans, to get to their jobs, doctor appointments, and schools while providing the mobility we need to help our economy grow.

Our region is one of the few remaining metropolitan areas in the country without a strong and workable transit system. We need to address that.

We all agree: A reliable regional transit system is needed for our county, and the region’s continued success.

John Fox, president and CEO, Beaumont Health

Sandro DiNello, president and CEO, Flagstar Bank

Ryan Maibach, president and CEO, Barton Malow

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