Opting-out of mass transit = modern redlining

Currently, more than 50 communities in Southeast Michigan opt-out of participating in SMART (the regional transit system). Just yesterday, in a narrow 3-2 vote, Bloomfield Hills voted to continue opting out. Most often, the rationale for not participating is due to the cost and that residents want no more taxes, but underneath one has to wonder if that is simply a ruse to hide the real and more troublesome reason(s).

To this author, opting-out of mass transit not only serves to exclude the less fortunate from fully participating in the regional economy, but dissuades them from coming to the opt-out community in the first place. If there are no practical and affordable methods of getting there for work, shopping, or residing, then the less fortunate have been effectively redlined from the community by default and/or inaction.

The only real solution to this is form of social inequity is for the opt-out communities to feel the heat for their actions (or lack thereof). If your city/town/village/township obstructs a segment of the population through opting-out of mass transit, then it should be ineligible for any and all federal grants and transportation dollars – period. That would include projects by the state or county within that community. Perhaps such penalty would wake up those communities to the callous reality of their actions.

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9 Responses to Opting-out of mass transit = modern redlining

  1. I agree this opting out is objectionable, but must oppose your reduction of “social inequity” to “racism.” There are plenty of people who look just like the opt-outers physically, such that if they were dressed in identical clothing and sent to the same hair salons, etc., they would be indistinguishable physically. If you are going to make a logical argument, the logical rigor must be used throughout and you must not go beyond what it is necessary and correct to say. Take the blinders off.


  2. Tom McDermott says:

    MetroLink (St. Louis):
    Possible plans to extend service 16–20 miles (26–32 km) northwestward into St. Charles County were abandoned after St. Charles County voters twice rejected a sales tax in 1996 to fund an extension. This was mainly because of part of the plan involving a direct connection with East St. Louis, Illinois. Many St. Charles County residents feared that the proposed line would cause a spike in crime by enabling criminals from East St. Louis and other crime-ridden areas to commute easily to St. Charles County.


  3. You used SE Mich. as an example, an area well known for its long standing racism.


  4. Klaus says:

    In Germany we see a lack of public transport as a main reason for people to move away from a region and move to town-centres, where they do not need to have a car to go shopping or to visit their dentist.
    There are plenty of people who will not drive a car, either as they are too young, too old or without money to buy one. At least old age is a question for every-one sooner or later.


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