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Guest Post: Let’s Keep BATA Rolling Forward

Let’s Keep BATA Rolling Forward

~ Co-authors: James Bruckbauer from the Michigan Land Use Institute and Jim Moore from Disability Network of Northern Michigan

Will BATA keep its buses rolling over the next 5 years? We think so and MyWHaT readers can be part of that by going to the polls to vote YES on the County Proposal for Continued BATA services on November 8.

Support BATA on Nov. 8th

As families experience the pinch at the pump, we’re seeing overwhelming support for more transportation choices. To us, the choice is clear; we’re voting yes.

Over the past 10 years, 75% of transit millage requests around the country have been successful. In Michigan this year, 10 out of 11 transit millage requests have passed. And in this region, we’ve seen citizens, local leaders, and groups show their overwhelming support for the system that, in our opinion, keeps on improving.

There is good reason for the broad support. Transit systems provide safe and affordable options for people who need to get around, they add to the economic vitality of the community, they save families money, and its good for the environment.

Recent improvements:

  • BATA is becoming more efficient. Though a recent restructuring effort, BATA managed to save $250,000 in capital and operation costs.
  • BATA is switching to routes that are more reliable and more attractive for commuters and visitors. Through the transit subcommittee of the Grand Vision, we’ve been working with BATA, Munson Hospital, and other community stakeholders to find opportunities for park and rides and fixed-routes that will help commuters become less dependent on their cars.
  • BATA worked with Wexford county to install a bus transfer station in Buckley. And, they are now looking at transfer centers in Interlochen and Acme – crucial, cross-region connections.

Quick facts:

  •  Suttons Bay Schools was able to save 4 teaching positions by allowing BATA to take kids to school.
  • BATA is working on GPS and mobile data connection technology so it can become more efficient and plan routes better.
  • BATA had a 14% increase in riders in Spring of 2011 compared to Spring of 2010.

To many in the region, BATA is a lifeline to community. It provides a crucial link to jobs for our vulnerable families who may be financially or physically unable to own a car, as well as, to many seniors, people with disabilities, and students who depend on the system to get around.

Towns that make transit a priority are able to prevent sprawl, attract talent, and are likely more bikeable and walkable. It’s your community connector. Let’s keep moving this town forward.

Let’s move this town forward. Vote Yes for BATA on November 8.


The 2009 conducted BATA Survey identified a latent demand for ridership. Cost savings and convenience were the top two choices for looking toward BATA as an option. You can read the final report by Kriosconsulting here: BATA Survey.


2011 Ballot Language:


This proposal will allow BATA to continue public transportation services by renewing the previously approved millage.

For the purpose of reauthorizing the same total millage levy approved by the voters in 2007 for public transportation purposes and to allow BATA to continue operations, shall up to .3454 mills for a period of five (5) years (2013-2017) be levied on all taxable property in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties?

This is a renewal millage of the .35 mills rolled back to .3454 mills under the Headlee Amendment.

If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise an estimated $2,305,190 for public transportation purposes in the first calendar year (2013).

By law, a portion of the BATA millage raised will be distributed to other governmental entities which capture property taxes. These are the City of Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Grand Travers County Land Bank Authority, Leelanau County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Leelanau County Land Bank Authority.

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