The League was present when transit advocates from across Michigan met in Flint on April 19th to hear from the Brookings Institution on reserach performed connecting transportation to jobs. The event was hosted by the Mott Foundation.
The research is included in a Brookings report titled, “Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America.” The report looks at the availability of transit as a means of getting residents to their jobs and studied the top 100 metros in the country, including Grand Rapids and Detroit.
The report notes that 70% of the population in these metros lives within 3/4 mile of transit. This means that while 88 million Americans are covered, 40 million are not. Of the 100 metros, Detroit ranks 49th in coverage but 83rd in job access while Grand Rapids ranks 78th in coverageby 14th in job access.
The disparity comes from the fact that while most Detroit residents have transit coverage, 77% of Detroit metro jobs are 10 miles or more away clearly showing the disconnect between jobs and where people live.
This "transit paradox", between where transit is and where the jobs are is, according to Brookings, creating a unique opportunity to connect people to jobs.
As the governor, legislators, MDOT and others continue the discussion on Michigan's infrastructure we must remember that creating a multi-modal 21st century transportation network is of primary need in order to attract business and ensure Michigan's economic recovery.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.