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With Amazon bid on table, SMART pitches new regional transit plan for Detroit area

By: Eric D. Lawrence

Photo: Regina H. Boone, Detroit Free Press

Regional transit may get a new shot of life in metro Detroit if a proposal by the SMART bus system takes root.

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, metro Detroit’s suburban bus system, is pitching a limited-stop, more frequent bus service that would connect Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties to the city of Detroit and Detroit Metro Airport.

The region’s transit limitations — exemplified by last year’s defeat at the polls of a 20-year, $4.7-billion regional transit master plan — have been on display in recent weeks as Detroit and other areas have made their pitches to Amazon for the company’s second headquarters. The giant online retailer had made good transit part of the criteria for consideration.

“With the Amazon bid on the table … this was a really good wake-up call for us to say ‘OK, the millage failed last year. What can we do? Let’s figure it out,’ ” said Melissa Roy, a member of SMART’s board of directors. “Instead of cowering and trying to figure out how do we pull ourselves together after the election last year, let’s put a solution in place … and I’m really proud of SMART for stepping up and doing that.”

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