Under Nacht’s leadership, the AATA board has been involving itself deeply in managing the authority since longtime executive director Greg Cook was forced out two years ago. Last summer board members took a straw vote (not an official action) to become a regional authority, and Nacht says that he wants “to expand transportation dollars to whatever will bring the greatest economic development to the region.”
But council members seemed more interested in problems with the existing bus service within the city. And they were clearly unhappy with what they’d heard about a proposed one-mill countywide transit tax—on top of the two mills Ann Arbor residents already pay for AATA. If the additional tax were approved, a resident with a recently purchased $200,000 house would be paying $300 a year for transit—without necessarily any improvement in service within the city.
Besides Nacht, the other big backer of a regional authority is county commissioner Jeff Irwin—who jokingly refers to himself as “an overzealous transit advocate.” Irwin and Terri Blackmore, executive director of the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (miwats.org), are working to sell the idea.