Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Thompson: State meddling with Wayne County opt outs for SMART would be anything but
RELEASE|June 13, 2024

State Rep. Jamie Thompson today said efforts to remove regional mass transit opt out capabilities from communities in Wayne County will threaten people with a tax hike and strip local control away from areas that are already clear where they stand.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans recently disclosed that he is working with state legislators to change a state law that allows municipalities to not be a part of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) if they so choose.

That could ultimately impact 17 Wayne County municipalities that have opted out of SMART, including Brownstown Township, Flat Rock, Rockwood and Woodhaven – communities Thompson represents in the Michigan House.

“These opt out decisions have been made carefully by local officials in these communities with input from people in those communities,” Thompsons said. “Why would we toss that in the garbage? People I represent are struggling every day with their budgets. They have a hard enough time right now paying for things they actually do want. This move would pave the way for a tax grab that will help other poorly managed areas of Wayne County pay for transit and force an unwanted bus system onto people who don’t want it and likely won’t use it.”

If a law were to be put in place removing opt outs, Wayne County commissioners could then decide to put county-wide mass transit on a future ballot with no recourse for individual communities. Bus operations are funded through property tax millages.

“People have already been nickel and dimed enough by Democrat majorities in the Legislature,” Thompson said. “People have seen a pay cut through a state income tax increase. Small business owners have seen costs rise due to increased regulation, with those costs ultimately getting passed down to consumers. This would be yet another attempt to make hardworking taxpayers across our communities foot a bill for a big government project, and that’s a huge concern.”

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