The Meridian Township Board Passed a Resolution 4-1 Opposing CATA's BRT

The Meridian Township Board Passed a 
Resolution 4-1 Opposing CATA's BRT

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - With the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA)’s plan to construct a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, the community has been speaking out and sharing their views at the Meridian Township Board meetings.

At the most recent meeting, on July 19th, the Board passed a resolution 4-1 opposing the current plan for CATA’s BRT project.

After many residents spoke opposing the project at the July 5th Township Board meeting, Trustee Ron Styka introduced a resolution to suspend support for the BRT plan. At the July 19th meeting, the resolution was amended to oppose the project. CATA now has until October 10th to resolve the issues, otherwise the BRT Resolution will be back on the agenda at the next Township Board meeting on October 18th.

This BRT project would replace CATA’s Route 1 and use center-running lanes in the Township along the Grand River Corridor.

This is a $133 million project that would run 8.3 miles from Downtown Lansing to Marsh Road.

For the residents against the project many of their concerns revolved around transportation safety and funding.

Haslett resident Ann Alchin said she is becoming very annoyed with hearing people should not be concerned with the $133 million that it's going to cost, because they say "it’s not our money, it’s federal money."

“That’s ridiculous. Where does the federal government get their money? From us, it’s all our money,” Alchin said. “Perhaps we say no to a very bad project and someone else could build a wonderful project. I really object to the spending of the money."

Others opposing are business owners along the proposed route.

Jeff Neilson is a resident and business owner in Meridian Township, who sees the left hand turns as a significant obstacle for any business along the Meridian corridor.

Neilson said common sense prevailed at this Township Board meeting, giving some hope that people are listening and the opposition has a strong foothold.

“We currently do not have a problem with our mass transportation today at all. It works fine for the community and we need it,” he said. “And we support CATA for that need.”

While, some residents don’t see a need for a BRT system Michigan Environmental Council Deputy Policy Director Sean Hammond made public comments in favor of the BRT.

Hammond said it is a huge step in the right direction for Lansing.

“We are going to continue to work in the local community– Meridian, East Lansing, MSU, Lansing and continue to hopefully educate businesses on the benefits,” Hammond said. “So they can see from BRT as opposed to some of the fears they have. We don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on those fears, but I think there are huge benefits potential here.”

With a focus on continuing dialogue, Hammond with any major change like this there is always going to be concerns.

“We think the project should of course continue to move forward and talk and look at these concerns. Because we understand there are a lot of concerns and many are one’s that should be answered by CATA,” he said. “So far they’ve been doing outreach and trying to explain, and hopefully this will continue and more resident will be able to engage.”

In the meantime, the project is being opposed in it's current stage, and CATA now has until mid October to show how a BRT system could be a positive addition for the Township.

CATA told HOMTV they are working on options at this time and declining further comment.

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