Nov 17, 2008
Ann Arbor Transportation Authority picks up dropped ball on WALLY line
The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA) is picking up the ball dropped by the short-sighted Livingston County Board of Commissioners, and the authority announced last month it would take control of planned Washtenaw Livingston (WALLY) commuter rail line that will link Howell and Ann Arbor.
Proponents of WALLY that will use existing railroad tracks to link the two counties have been pushing to set up a new taxing authority. The county board decided in September to not only not provide any money to the project, but it will also not be part of the coalition that wants to form a taxing authority.
The resolution approved by the AATA board authorizes it to serve as the designated authority for the WALLY project and it will also allow AATA to complete the necessary environmental assessments to fulfill federal and state regulations.
AATA’s decision to act as the designated authority for the WALLY commuter rail project will allow it to receive promised federal funds. U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, previously told members of the coalition that a designated authority eligible to receive state and federal funding is needed in order to request funds for the project.
The WALLY Coalition, which has been working on the project for more than two years, includes representatives from the cities of Ann Arbor and Howell, Washtenaw and Livingston counties, the University of Michigan, WATS, the Michigan Department of Transportation, Northfield and Hamburg townships, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, Washtenaw Community College, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, local Chambers of Commerce, AATA and other interested groups and individuals from throughout the WALLY proposed service area.