So the idea for a rail between Ann Arbor and Detroit is being delayed.
It’s technically for Michigan as a whole, which has had a long history of not having decent public transportation.
The reason is simple, and it starts with Motor and ends with City. However, with the realization that cars being made by the Big Three are junk, a new age of public transit might arise in Michigan.
I can’t resist ending the semester without one last history lesson.
Back during the dawn of the twentieth century, Michigan had a sprawling and expanding public transit system, based on those electric trolleys, like the ones you see in San Francisco.
Shortly after the system, which spread through southeastern Michigan, a little southwest and north all the way to Traverse City, Detroit’s auto industry began to boom, and a few years later the transit system was dead.
Most major cities rely on public transit. It’s environmentally less harmful, less expensive to the individual, and theoretically can save time.
Michigan’s public transit is mostly buses in and around the Detroit area, which while helpful, tend to end shortly after the city limits or become increasingly spread out in terms of lines and stops as they leave the city.
With the automotive industry recovering from poor sales and poorer cars, now may be the best time to bring back public transit.
If Michigan built a better public transit system, this would allow people to affordably travel in the state at farther distances, increasing travel, tourism money and also helping to bring the people of the state closer together. It would also mean less commuter traffic, so people would not only have more time, but the highways would be less clogged at rush hour, speeding up traffic, which to be honest will still be large even if diminished from mass transit.
There’s also emissions reform to consider.
More public transit equals fewer emissions from car traffic, which means that auto makers and state Governors in Michigan have some leverage to forestall the reform if they don’t like it.
Okay that’s not a good thing, but for an issue this big you’re going to need all the support you can get, because if the auto makers are good at anything, it’s making Michigan about them. Other large cities have public transit; must Detroit fall behind in terms of population and prestige because of three companies that have had their way in southeastern Michigan for a century?
Detroit has been declining as a city for decades, but with public transit the city could be united with the suburbs to create a more unified area, and with that Detroit could once again prosper.
Plus if the transit spreads across Michigan, all the universities could have better frat parties, because it would be easy to get everyone together. Everybody wins with public transit, because people will still need cars, and with the time and money saved they can spend the time and money elsewhere, allowing business to expand, more time for family, and so on.
If nothing else it will cripple the last final hold the auto companies have on Michigan, which is almost reason enough for me.