Regional leaders announce formation of R-PATH at summit

A coalition of county commissioners from Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, and St. Clair counties and members of the Detroit City Council recently announced the formation of Regional Partners Advocating Transit Here (R-PATH) at the 2011 Southeast Michigan Regional Summit held in Clinton Township.

R-PATH will serve as an advocacy group for the creation of a Regional Transit Authority in the metropolitan Detroit area. The voluntary, bi-partisan group consists of a core of officials, currently: Macomb County Commissioners David Flynn, Bob Smith, Jim Carabelli and Board Chair Kathy D. Vosburg; Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh and Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem Gary Brown; Wayne County Commission Vice Chair Alisha Bell; Oakland County Commissioners David W. Potts and Jim Nash; Washtenaw Commissioners Kristin Judge and Board Chair Conan Smith; and St. Clair County Board Chair Jeff Bohm.

The announcement was made at the yearly meeting of regional leaders (formerly the Tri-county Summit), which was expanded this year to include the participation of Washtenaw and St. Clair counties. The topics of discussion during the event were regional collaboration and mass transit. More than 200 community and government leaders attended.

"This was the perfect opportunity to bring together key regional players with the intention of forging a common goal and laying the groundwork to reshape transit in our area," said Macomb County Board Chair Kathy D. Vosburg.

The event, held at both Macomb Community College's Lorenzo Cultural Center and Rojo Mexican Bistro at The Mall at Partridge Creek, was anchored by a presentation and panel discussion from Denver, Colo. officials on the benefits of mass transit, the obstacles they encountered, and the "lessons learned" while developing an RTA.

"It is time for serious, open and frank discussion leading to a true regional solution for transit in southeast Michigan. For too long, special interests acting for their issues and not for the public good have dominated the debate. This must change," stated Oakland County Commissioner David W. Potts.

The city of Denver reports a $4 return for communities on every $1 invested in mass transit.

"I look forward to working with the other counties and the City of Detroit to get the Mass Transit System that we deserve. This is the best way of getting it done," stated Oakland County Commissioner Jim Nash.

The summit also featured a speech on the power of regional collaboration from the chairman of the Michigan Food and Beverage Association, Ed Deeb, and a presentation on creative leadership and teamwork from best-selling author/public speaker, John U. Bacon. Hosting duties for the 2012 summit were also accepted by Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh.

Macomb County hosted its last summit in 2007, aboard The Ovation, with a focus on water quality. Hosting duties alternate between participants yearly, with event costs paid for by summit sponsors. The first summit was hosted in 1998 by Wayne County, the Michigan State Fair, and the Michigan Association of Counties.

Published: Thu, Oct 20, 2011

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