MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) — With less than a week before the opt-out deadline, many municipal governments have indicated they will not join Calhoun County’s newly formed transit authority.
The Calhoun County Board of Commissioners last month approved the creation of the Transportation Authority of Calhoun County. Staff with the county’s community development department say not everyone is on board.
“Something could happen at the one or two meetings left, but from the conversations I’ve had, yes, I expect all of the townships and villages to be opted out,” Doug Ferrall, assistant director of community development, told News 8 Wednesday.
That leaves the county’s four cities — Battle Creek, Marshall, Albion and Springfield — as part of the authority.
Ferrall said one reason others passed is because the concept is new to the county.
“Maybe there’s some trust issues there as well — if this thing is made, is that really going to happen?” he said. “From our end, we can see how it can happen and we’ve got a plan for it, but we also need to bring those communities along with us, probably over the course of years.”
“I think the elected officials were really going to need this to be a longer-term process than what we were hoping,” he added. “Get this thing up and running with the cities first and maybe down the road, they’ll choose to come into the authority.”
Cost was also a concern.
“There would need to be increased revenue to operate something countywide, so I think that’s something that, yes, we would need to see a millage in increased revenue to support that moving forward,” Ferrall said.
That would be up to the transit authority board, which will depend on who officially opts in, further adding to the list of unknowns.
Still, Ferrall said starting somewhere is worth it.
“Once people see that you can get a ride from one place to another place, even if you live in rural Homer Township, let’s say, that’s a big service for people,” he said. “That’s life-changing for people that need to get to medical appointments, go shopping, or they even want to do social things and see family.”
According to Ferrell, any jurisdiction that voted to opt out of the transit authority can still change its mind by Oct. 9.