Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan

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Regional Transportation Authority of Southeast Michigan
Locale Metro Detroit
Transit type bus, bus rapid transit (future)
Headquarters Detroit, Michigan
Began operation 2013

The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) is the agency with oversight and service coordination responsibility for mass transit operations in metropolitan Detroit, Michigan. The counties of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne are included in the agency's jurisdiction.[1]


The RTA is governed by a 10-member board which includes two representatives from each county, one representative from Detroit, and one non-voting representative appointed by the governor who chairs the board.[1] The board hires a CEO to oversee the day-to-day operations of the authority. The board is granted the authority to levy a special assessment and/or collect a motor vehicle registration fee, if approved by voters, to fund the development and operation of transit services, or the purchase of existing transit providers with unanimous consent of the board.[2]

Along with oversight and coordination responsibilities for the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), and the Detroit Transportation Corporation, the authority was also established to create a single mass transit plan for the region, including the development, funding and operating of bus rapid transit along four major corridors in the metropolitan area. The new plan will use as its basis the Comprehensive Regional Transit Service Plan, which was adopted on December 8, 2008.[3] This regional transit plan, which called for a multi-phase implementation of expanded and improved mass transit between 2009 and 2035, included but was not limited to improved bus service along existing routes (arterial rapid transit), bus rapid transit along major avenues, a single light rail line along Woodward Avenue, and four commuter rail lines between Detroit and Ann Arbor, Downriver, Pontiac, and St. Clair County.[3]


The RTA has its beginnings in the Metropolitan Transportation Authorities Act of 1967 (Public Act 204).[4] A provision of the act specifically created the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority (SEMTA), but provided the authority with no additional means to levy taxes or fees to fund the operations for the transit providers it had acquired.

In 1974, facing a loss of funding from SEMTA and wanting more control of its transit affairs, Detroit's Department of Street Railways (DSR) restructed itself becoming the Detroit Department of Transportation.[5] On December 7, 1988, Public Act 204 was amended to restructure SEMTA, reducing the service area from seven counties to three, and excluding the city of Detroit.[5] The new transit authority was named the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit (SMART), and began operation on January 17, 1989. To continue limited coordination and development of services between DDOT and SMART, however, regional leaders representing the three-county area and Detroit filed articles of incorporation to form the Regional Transit Coordinating Council on January 12, 1989.[5]

On December 19, 2012 Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill No. 909 into law establishing the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), which included a provision allowing for the first time a way for such a regional transit authority to fund itself.[6]

See also[edit]

Transportation in metropolitan Detroit


  1. ^ a b "Regional Transit Authority". SEMCOG. 
  2. ^ "SB 909 Analysis". Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Comprehensive Regional Transit Service Plan". Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Metropolitan Transportation Authorities Act of 1967". Michigan Legislature. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "History of Transit in Southeast Michigan Region". SMART Overiew. SMART. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Senate Bill No. 909". State of Michigan 96th Legislature. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 

External links[edit]