LANSING — State Representative Adam F. Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) introduced a bill that would amend the Regional Transit Authority Act to improve the efficiency of the governing board to move forward on commuter rail projects.

Because of how the system is set up, all funding decisions for rail transit require a unanimous vote. These guidelines have an adverse effect on local projects, as delegates from different counties across the state are less likely to approve a project if it does not include their region.

The legislation, House Bill 4794, would amend the Regional Transit Authority Act to allow rail projects to move forward with a simple majority vote, mirroring the vote requirements for other transit projects.

“This legislation empowers local governments to have a say in the projects that directly affect them and paves the way for truly regional rapid transit across our state,”? Zemke said.

As of its introduction, the bill had 30 co-sponsors, including all members of the Washtenaw County delegation: Reps. Gretchen Driskell (D-Saline), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti). Additionally, there are 18 co-sponsors from districts whose municipalities are directly impacted by the Regional Transit Authority.

“The development of a viable long-term rail transit system in Michigan is critical to the creation of jobs immediately and to growing Michigan’s economy on a long-term scale,”? Zemke said.