As cities like Detroit are still contending with lower tax bases resulting from economic recession, public transit agencies struggle to cover operating expenses and are forced to reduce operating times and make cuts to vital bus and other transit services.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood supports greater federal funding to help cover these public transit operating costs. Says LaHood to The Huffington Post:
“Over the long run, the best way to address many of the challenges facing the transit agencies in Detroit and the surrounding suburbs is for the Michigan legislature to implement a Regional Transportation Authority as soon as possible. If fully funded, an RTA will eventually bring the many struggling transit agencies serving greater-Detroit into one system that will be more efficient, more reliable, and be more responsive to the needs of the people throughout the region.”
Detroit received $25 million in funding from the Department of Transportation’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program for a local Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that spurred the need for a regional transit authority.