In metro Detroit, we often hear about communities refusing to collaborate on regional issues, particularly when it comes to opting in to the SMART bus public transportation system. Motor City Freedom Riders, an organization "uniting bus riders and their allies in standing up for the right to move," however, points to an example of a small community in Oakland County that had a change of heart after long refusing to participate in SMART.
In August of 2014, Lathrup Village, a small enclave city surrounded entirely by Southfield, voted to join the SMART bus system after 19 years of opting out.
Motor City Freedom Riders' Joel Batterman writes, "When the SMART bus system had its first millage back in 1995, the small Oakland County city of Lathrup Village chose not to take part…[but] in 2014, Lathrup Village officials started talking to SMART about joining the system by joining the Oakland County Public Transportation Authority, the pass-through entity that collects the property tax millage for SMART’s Oakland County cities. Lathrup Village City Council unanimously voted to join the Authority, and in August 2014, fully 73 percent of Lathrup Village voters said 'yes' to the SMART millage – one of the highest levels of support in Oakland County."
Batterman challenges the notion that all communities that opt-out of SMART are "bastions of prejudice," instead positing that many simply suffer from "political inertia."
Read more on Motor City Freedom Riders' blog