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| 1 min read | by Sean Dalton, sdalton@thesuntimesnews.com |

With the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners recently appointing two of its members to represent Washtenaw County in negotiations with Wayne and Oakland County, as well as large municipal entities like the city of Detroit, Chelsea Mayor Melissa Johnson made a motion to get out in front of the county’s representatives to the Regional Transit Authority.

The Regional Transit Authority, or RTA, was formed in 2012 and has recently been gearing up to move forward with major mass transit initiatives to make traveling without a vehicle in and out of Washtenaw County are a more viable option for those who want to or need to do away with their personal automobile.

The Board of Commissioners recently appointed District 7 Commissioner Jason Morgan and District 8 Commissioner Andy LaBarre to engage in critical negotiations on pending RTA initiatives that could have a positive impact on public transit for all county residents.

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“We know that the city of Chelsea has not been actively represented in discussions and I would like to send a letter to the [Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners] indicating our interest in regional transit,” Johnson said.

Strides have been made with the Western Washtenaw Value Express, which has expanded its services greatly on strong demand in the Chelsea and Dexter areas in particular with more frequently visited bus stops, extended routes, and linkages with other modes of public transit.

Johnson’s concern is that Morgan and Labarre, both representing districts within Ann Arbor in the central and eastern portions of the city, could go to negotiations with a more complete picture of the needs of the county as a whole if given the chance to hear from representatives of western Washtenaw.

The letter would in part be an invitation to the two county commissioners to come interact with the Chelsea City Council while hearing what its representatives have to say.

Johnson said that the potential for having a positive impact on residents’ lives is significant, with 31 percent of Chelsea residents commuting to and from Ann Arbor for work or vice versa. A high number of commuters also travel to and from Livingston County every day for their work.

“Similarly we have a large population of aging seniors that could use this regional transit for medical appointments, for entertainment, as well as for travel,” Johnson said.

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