Oct 17, 2008
Shortsighted Township Board refuses to pitch in fair share for mass transit rail line project
The Hamburg Township Board followed the shortsighted example of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners and turned down a request to kick in $1,0000 last week for an environmental review of the proposed site of a train depot for the Washtenaw Livingston Line (WALLY) commuter rail line from Howell to Brighton.
The all-Republican Board of Commissioners voted last month not to contribute any funds, and to also not be a part of the coalition that wants to form a taxing authority. The all-GOP Township Board was asked to pitch in a mere $1,000 for the station proposed for the Featherly Road extension east of Hamburg Road, and the reaming $6,488 would be picked up by the other entities in the project. The answer was apparently, thanks but no thanks to the $6,488.
Partners in the project include the City of Howell, the Greater Brighton Chamber of Commerce, Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.
Before any of the $500,000 in federal funds for station design and improvements can be spent, environmental clearance is required. It would consist of, according to an October 8 memo from Hamburg Township Supervisor Cindy pine, a review of historical documents and a limited field survey or dig to rule out any archeological remains.
A move to establish a mass transit hub in Howell and Livingston County has been ongoing since the mid 1990's, but there was hope this latest effort would succeed because of the strong commitment of the coalition members, high gas prices and the backups experienced along U.S. 23, the north/south highway to Ann Arbor where many Livingston County residents work.
Plans for a rail line between Ann Arbor and Detroit are steaming along, and the Ann Arbor to Detroit Regional Rail Project could see its first train hit the rails in just over a year. The effort in Livingston County remains derailed by shortsighted government officials, and a link all the way to Detroit remains a dream. With these two boards we see the danger of having just one party on the board for so long, and another voice would be a breath of fresh air.