Connecting Oakland County through Local Transit Solutions

Photo of SMART bus and bus stop

On Nov. 8, 2022, voters will be asked to consider a 10-year, .95 mill measure to maintain and expand public transit services, connecting people and communities across Oakland County.

What is Oakland Transit?

  • The Oakland Transit millage will expand and maintain existing public transit services, including transportation provided by the SMART bus system, Western Oakland Transportation Authority, North Oakland Transportation Authority and Older Persons Commission in the Rochester area.
  • The millage funds new service to key areas, including major employment centers, health care campuses and local colleges and universities.
  • The millage will expand reservation-based service – flexible transportation for seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans who need to make essential trips, such as doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping.
  • The millage will expand app-based service – on-demand transportation open to the general public, using small vehicles.
  • Funds from the millage will support transit services that specifically benefit Oakland County residents and businesses.
  • Local service details will be developed collaboratively with members of the public, community organizations, transit providers, local governments and county leadership.

Serving Oakland County

The Oakland Transit millage will connect residents to jobs, medical care, schools, shopping, and other essential destinations.

Millage funds will be distributed to local transit providers in Oakland County to continue existing services and expand transportation options, including:

  • SMART
  • North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA)
  • Western Oakland Transportation Authority (WOTA)
  • Older Persons Commission (OPC) in the Rochester area

NOTE: The Oakland Transit millage will appear on all Oakland County ballots on Nov. 8 and will serve as the replacement for the SMART millage levied in 24 communities across Oakland County.

What you need to know: Oakland County Transit millage

Oakland County voters will consider a .95 mill proposal for 10 years on the Nov. 8 ballot that will maintain and expand transportation services across Oakland County.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of rides have been provided to transit users in Oakland County through four agencies: SMART, North Oakland Transportation Authority, West Oakland Transportation Authority and the Older Person’s Commission.

There are also wide swaths of Oakland County where there is limited or no public transportation services available, including employment centers, healthcare facilities, community colleges and essential shopping destinations. A transit millage would connect workers with jobs, seniors with healthcare providers and veterans and members of the disabled community with vital services.

What is the transit millage?

It is a .95 mill levied countywide, generating $66.1 million in the first year for transportation services across Oakland County.

What will the transit millage do?
  • It will maintain existing public transit services, including services provided by the SMART bus system, NOTA, WOTA and the OPC.
  • It will increase the frequency of services. 
  • It will expand transit service by creating and extending new transit routes across Oakland County, especially those underserved employment centers.
     
  • It will expand Reservation-based transportation services, which are flexible rides for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities who need to make essential trips, such as doctor appointments and grocery shopping. 
  • It will expand App-based transportation – small vehicle, on-demand service– to all to provide better links between lower-density suburban areas to the full transit system.
Will the transit millage go to any service outside of Oakland County like the Q-line or People Mover?

No. This millage is to address the needs of residents and businesses in Oakland County. This funding will be directed to local solutions.

How much will the millage cost taxpayers?
  • The .95 mill translates to $95 per year for a home or business valued at $200,000 (a taxable value of $100,000).
  • For people in communities where SMART services are available now, taxes will decrease from the .9765-mill that is currently levied to the new .95 mill.
  • The millage would provide more funding than the current sources generate for NOTA, WOTA and OPC.
Which communities are covered by SMART?

Auburn Hills, Berkley, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Clawson, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Franklin, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Pontiac, Royal Oak, Royal Oak Township, Southfield, Troy, Walled Lake, West Bloomfield.

Which communities are covered by WOTA?

Highland, Waterford and White Lake townships and the city of Walled Lake

Which communities are covered by NOTA?

Oxford, Orion and Addison Townships and the villages of Oxford, Lake Orion and Leonard

Which communities are covered by OPC?

Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township

Which communities could see new public transportation services from the Oakland Transit millage?
  • The cities of Bloomfield Hills, Clarkston, Keego Harbor, Lake Angelus, Northville, Novi, Orchard Lake, South Lyon, Sylvan Lake and Wixom.
  • The villages: Ortonville, Wolverine Lake, Holly and Milford.
  • The townships of Brandon, Commerce, Groveland, Holly, Independence, Lyon, Milford, Novi, Rose and Springfield.
How will the millage proceeds be distributed?

Because this is an Oakland County millage, the final implementation plan will be collaboratively designed for Oakland County by residents, community and county leaders and organizations, transit providers and businesses.

There will be full transparency with public meetings and oversight by the Board of Commissioners and County Executive.  An annual audit will report on the spending, and key performance indicators will measure improvements.

The millage is expected to generate $66.1 million in the first year. $33.3 million is expected to cover existing SMART service, $12 million would permit expanded routes to high-demand areas and $1.7 million would go to improvements including increased frequency on existing routes.

In addition, the Board of Commissioners’ resolution set aside: $1.6 million to NOTA; $2 million to WOTA and $1 million to the OPC in the Rochester area.

This would allow each of these transit providers to maintain and expand service, partner with neighboring communities, and create additional local transit solutions for their residents.

Finally, the millage reserves $3.2 million for the expanded Reservation-based Service and $3.5 million for the expanded App-based Service. 

Why is the millage 10 years?

To permit the county to provide resources to match federal transportation funds.  

What is the millage proposal language?

OAKLAND COUNTY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MILLAGE

A proposal to authorize Oakland County to levy a millage for the purpose of funding public transportation services in Oakland County, including operating, maintaining, improving, and expanding transit services, creating and expanding new fixed routes for bus service connecting local communities, expanding transportation services for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities, and providing transportation to get employees to jobs, patients to healthcare, students to colleges and universities, for the general public to have more transportation options, and for related purposes authorized by law.

This millage would be levied at a maximum rate of .95 mills (95 cents per $1,000 in taxable value) for a period of 10 years beginning in 2022 and ending in 2031.

This millage would replace an expiring millage levied by the Oakland County Public Transportation Authority supporting the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), and fund replacement of other local public transportation millages.

If this new millage is approved and levied, revenue will be distributed to Oakland County, SMART, North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA), Older Persons’ Commission (OPC), and the West Oakland Transportation Authority (WOTA). It is estimated that $66,163,000 will be collected in the first year. Expenditure of revenue from the millage will be subject to oversight by the Oakland County Board of Commissioners and to independent audits.

Should this proposal be adopted?

Yes 

No

Read Oakland County Board of Commissioners Misc. Resolution #22-279 approving language for the Oakland County Public Transportation Millage to appear on the November 8, 2020 Ballot.

Click here to watch the Board of Commissioners Meeting.

Learn more at OakGov.com/OaklandTransit.


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