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.