For the first time in the history of the state of Michigan, voters from a city will have the choice of opting out of a transit authority. On Tuesday, a coalition of grassroots supporters of WalkerYes! and the Kent County Taxpayers Alliance submitted signatures to allow voters in Walker the choice in November to exit the Interurban Transit Partnership (the Rapid). Today, the Walker city clerk verified that the group has submitted more than the minimum number of signatures necessary.
Never before have voters in Michigan had the opportunity to leave a transit taxing authority, in part, because the threshold needed for signatures is so much higher than other measures. The group had to collect valid signatures from registered voters in the city equal to 20% of the number who voted in the last gubernatorial election. This meant that over 1600 signatures were required to be collected in less than six months. More impressive is that this was a much higher burden than the typical threshold for most recall drives and other ballot measures which is 15%.
The next step in the process is approval by the city commission to place the measure on the ballot with the wording. However, this process should be a formality as the exact ballot language is written into the state statute.
“This is a real credit to the tireless work of our volunteers,” said Eric Larson, spokesman for the Kent County Taxpayers Alliance. “We had people devoting many, many hours of hard door to door work all summer when it was stifling hot and the dedication they showed really reflects the desire of Walker voters to see this on the ballot. Many times I am told there were people who were waiting for us to visit their neighborhood so they could sign the petition. Walker voters will now have the chance to give Walker citizens more choices in how to provide transportation and do it more cost effectively.”
The Kent County Taxpayers Alliance was founded in 2007 and has been a local advocate for government transparency, fiscal responsibility, and accountability. WalkerYes! is a grassroots coalition of volunteers dedicated to getting this measure on the ballot and was formed earlier this year.
To learn much more about The Rapid’s waste of taxpayer funds, please visit our ITP Watch web site.
If you’d like to get involved, please contact the organizers of Walker Yes. The Walker Yes web site is available here.