A 2019 Gillig BRT signed as 461 FAST Woodward. FAST Woodward is the busiest SMART fixed route in Oakland County.

Pontiac, MI – On August 10, 2022, Oakland County commissioners have approved a resolution to place a countywide public transit millage tax on ballots throughout the county in the November general election 13-7, Oakland Press reporter Mark Cavitt reported on Twitter.

This development marks a dramatic shift in transit attitudes in the county from earlier this year when the city of Auburn Hills approved a proposal to opt out of Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART), though the proposal was subsequently rejected by an Oakland County judge.

The approval of countywide transit is a dramatic step towards expanding SMART service within Oakland County, and is essential for residents and for businesses facing accessibility shortfalls. Macomb County is the only Metro Detroit county that currently has a countywide transit millage tax.

If approved in November, the ConnectOakland millage preserves existing SMART service while expanding upon it by extending routes into communities currently not part of SMART, including near-rural suburban towns and areas that haven’t seen fixed route service since 1995, and funding capital improvements to the system.

Potential routes proposed in ConnectOakland include extensions of the 305 Grand River to Lyon Township, the 740 12 Mile to Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, and the 780 15 Mile to Wixom, alongside new routes along Orchard Lake Road, through Waterford Township into Commerce Township, along Dixie Highway to Clarkston, along Hamlin Road through Rochester Hills to Beaumont Hospital Troy, along Coolidge Highway and Crooks Road, and along Rochester Road and Lapeer Road to Oxford.

Microtransit areas proposed in ConnectOakland include northern Rochester and Rochester Hills, Waterford Township and Clarkston, Wixom, Commerce Township and Walled Lake, Milford and Highland Township, Novi, and South Lyon.

Approval of ConnectOakland in November could also pave the way for further investment in Macomb County as well as a drive for another countywide transit millage in Wayne County.

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