Public transportation

Dear Editor,
I am the parent and guardian of a young disabled adult, living in North Oakland County, who will never be able to drive a vehicle.
The audacity of three northern Oakland County politicians, state Rep. Andrea Schroeder, state Sen. Ruth Johnson and state Sen. Jim Runestad, to indicate the elderly and disabled do not want or need public transportation is a shining example of how completely out of touch Schroeder, Johnson, and Runestad are with the daily struggles of constituents.
Furthermore, the bills introduced by these lawmakers will strip the ability of north Oakland residents to exercise their right to vote on whether or not they want public transportation expanded in the communities where they work and live. This is a decision for the residents of the community, not politicians.
The transportation available currently only transports Clarkston residents to certain locations in Independence and Springfield townships with limited opportunities for transportation to Pontiac hospitals and a few shopping centers.
A minimum notice of 48 hours is required for any transportation and they are only available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. My daughter has numerous medical specialists, none of which are accessible through the currently available transportation.
In addition, most of the available job training opportunities for the disabled through community services are not accessible from the current transportation system.
My child lives with me, and I have spent  a great deal my life driving her to every medical, academic and social service appointment necessary. This is a privilege to be in a position to give my child these opportunities, and the time commitment rendered me unable to work a full time job in my trained profession.
Most families are not as fortunate, and must work outside the home, thus leaving any disabled or aged individual with very little opportunity to contribute to and engage with the community.
The north Oakland community should absolutely have the opportunity to vote on transit opportunities. Passing a law that allows townships to block any measure providing for public transportation on the ballot is essentially taking away the voice of voters. If we expect the disabled to fully participate and contribute to society to the best of their abilities, we must offer them all the tools to reach their full potential.
Rep. Schroeder and Sen. Johnson are completely out of touch with disabled and aged residents, and should seriously consider their obligation to represent the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.
I am extremely disappointed in the blatant disregard for the those less able, and urge the residents of this community to speak up for those with little or no voice, as their elected official do not. Oakland Country residents demand our right to vote on the issue of expanding public transportation.
Kara Dailey Sprague
Independence Township

One Response to "Public transportation"

  1. MIKE FETZER   March 5, 2020 at 1:58 am

    Many northern Oakland County residents would love to see greater access to public transportation. It has demonstrated potential to reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and could benefit senior citizens and persons with disabilities. For now, though, many residents are committed to the custom and convenience of their private vehicles. A key indicator is all the area roads choked with weekday car and SUV traffic headed to area schools, even as more efficient school bus transportation is underutilized.

    A major problem with the recent ballot proposals for more mass transit is that sponsors have not convinced many northern county taxpayers that we will see increased transit access on our streets, for our families, as a result of the increased taxes we will be required to pay. We get only assurances from politicians that some generalized, vague benefit will materialize. There are no indications that the system proposed will be cost effective. Taxpayers seem to want more specific route and schedule information to ensure that seniors and persons with disabilities, and other potential users, will benefit in specific ways. The proposal should include more specific and credible cost and budget data. Initial promises for a dollar often evolve into much higher costs and busted budgets, and a diminished product, when some area government entities are involved. Apparently, there remains great distrust for southern neighbors.

    For now, it is pretty clear that taxpayers have made their voices heard. Right or wrong, they want their cars, and they want area roads—among the most dilapidated in the nation—repaired and maintained before more tax dollars are expended on other transportation projects. More strategic planning, leadership and marketing will be required to change direction.


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