Voters nix funding for countywide bus system

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 2:43 pm on Monday, November 14, 2011

The Montcalm Ride came to a halt Tuesday.
Voters overwhelmingly said “no” to a proposed countywide public transportation system millage. The request to for a new 0.3-mill property tax was shot down 2,482 votes to 1,611 votes, or about 60 to 40 percent.
Members of the Montcalm County Transportation Authority were disappointed with the results.
“I was hoping that it would pass,” said board member Marty Combs. “I think there’s a need for it in the county. There wasn’t a lot of information out there until just recently. It’s too bad. It’s a tough time in the economy and people didn’t want another millage.”
The authority wanted to raise $434,891 over three years to fund a transportation system available for everyone in the county. Greenville voters were excluded from Tuesday’s vote because the city already operates its own bus system, for which city taxpayers already pay a special tax.
The average estimated fare to ride the proposed transportation system would be $3 for the general public and $1.50 for senior citizens, disabled people and children 12 and younger. Multiple dial-a-ride buses would operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays shuttling people from their homes or other local destinations to a series of fixed routes.
“Yesterday’s vote presented a once-in-a-lifetime decision that now results in infinite missed opportunities, missed opportunities for Montcalm County to uniquely position itself for recovery and for our residents to positively enhance and even change their lives,” said authority supporter Lisa Lund. “As we continue to struggle, we will always have to wonder how things could have been different if we would have at least tried a significant, locally developed solution.”
Authority Chairman Franz Mogdis did not return calls seeking comment.

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