WeROC advocacy helps Ann Arbor vote up transit

Posted by: Gordon on 5/9/2014

Some 10,000 voters turned out to win more funds for local transit in Michigan Tuesday. Local news reported that 70 percent of area residents supported funding for more public transit in the Ann Arbor area, a signature issue for the new group WeROC (Washtenaw Regional Organizing Coalition), a project of MOSES.

WeROC has been active on transportation issues for the better part of a year, working to get better bus service to the University of Michigan's East Medical Campus. UM runs a bus out to the campus, located beyond the city limits in rural Ann Arbor Township, but the service has been infrequent and unreliable, leaving many patients out in the cold.

With assistance from MOSES Policy Coordinator Joel Batterman, WeROC leaders filmed a music video to spread the word. They've also helped with door-to-door canvassing and phone banking. The MOSES Transportation Task Force even took an expeditionary force out to Washtenaw this past weekend.

As Ann Arbor has gentrified, the Ypsilanti area now include the better part of the county's African American residents. WeROC leader Rod Casey said a few opponents of the transit proposal had been "trying to turn the races against each other, trying to cause divisions among the citizens of Washtenaw County," by suggesting that residents in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township would not be paying their fair share for bus service.

Instead, Casey said, the voters chose to stand together as one community. "Washtenaw County is advancing. It's moving forward. It's not going to be stuck in the past," he said.
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