The Rapidian

Voters vote to keep Grand Rapids Metro area moving

Voters pass the Transit renewal millage to keep the Rapid running for twelve more years
Rapid CEO Peter Varga Greets supporters of the Rapid Millage Renewal at a election results watch party

Rapid CEO Peter Varga Greets supporters of the Rapid Millage Renewal at a election results watch party /John Rothwell

Property owners in the six cities that provide The Rapid service will continue to pay a tax to support the bus system for the next twelve years. The transit millage renewal passed Tuesday, November 7th with a 61 percent ‘yes’ vote.

Voters from Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Kentwood, Grandville passed the renewal, while Walker voters rejected the proposal. Both supporters and opponents of the proposed renewal gathered at Johnny B’z on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids to watch the election results. A loud cheer echoed throughout the restaurant around 10 p.m. when it was realized that results from all 127 voting precincts were in, and the renewal proposal had passed.

Kent County The Rapid Transit Millage Renewal (results):

Yes  22,146 61%

No 13,937 39%

Rapid CEO Peter Varga was very happy with the fact that voters expressed their support for the transit system.

“They had confidence in our ability to move forward to support what we have created in the last twenty years,” Varga said. “I am very grateful to the voters for expressing their support.”

Involved in a contract dispute that has left members of the local Amalgamated Transit Union without a contract the past two years, some ATU members had been calling for a no contract - no millage vote.

“The union never took an official position on the millage. There is no downside to the millage passing much like there would have no upside to it not passing,” said RiChard Jackson, President of Local ATU 836.

Barbara Holt, Chairwoman of The Rapid Board of Directors, was noticeably jubilant upon learning of the election results.

“It's a wonderful mandate for us to continue Rapid transit in the six cities surrounding Grand Rapids and we are incredibly excited that the communities support the Rapid,” Holt said. “It means we move forward. We put together all the positive improvements that we have planned on. We work on our contract with our mechanics and our drivers to get that settled, and we get a lot of things done that we were in kind of a limbo, wondering how the millage was going to turn out. Now we go full bore, straight forward for good.”

With the passing of the millage voters have said to the riders of The Rapid that there will be a dependable, ongoing form of transportation around the Grand Rapids metro area for the next twelve years.

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