CATA BRT project taking a detour, will now work with public to find resolution

MERIDIAN TWP, MI (WLNS) – The Meridian Township Board approved a resolution Tuesday night, opposing the BRT project, for now.

After just under three hours of hearing from the public, the board voted to oppose the project in its current stages.

But, it’s not a permanent decision. Some amendments were made to the resolution Tuesday night that gives CATA officials a hard deadline to change the minds of many people who are against the project

So, what happens now?

CATA officials will now work with Meridian Township and the public to come to a consensus regarding the ramifications of the project.

If the issue does not get resolved by October 10th, 2016, the BRT resolution will go back on the agenda at the following Meridian Township Board meeting, which would be on October 18th, 2016.

It would not, however, be put on the agenda as an action item.

We’ve reported for months now about the strong opposition against the BRT project from many who live in Meridian Township or have businesses along the Grand River Corridor.

6 News spoke with some of those people following the vote this evening, including East Lansing blind resident, Karla Hudson.

“They made the right decision this evening,” Hudson said. “The community has spoken. People with disabilities have spoken in this community that CATA has not engaged us in any type of a forum; definitely their CATA Board has been involved, but I think that they need more communication from their community.”

Donna Rose, who is also blind, said the board made the right decision Tuesday night.

“A lot of people with disabilities have different abilities,” Rose said. “And I feel that a bus system has to make the service as accessible. Especially when people are telling them, “look..you’re going to ruin my ability to use the number one. They need to hear that.”

Jeff Neilson, who owns five different Tuffy locations, one of them being on Grand River Avenue, said it’s a small victory for many of those against the project.

Neilson said he’s now interested to see how CATA will receive the public.

“This is a temporary setback for them but they are going to come back to the table, and hopefully with something different, that will work with everybody,” he said. “Because we aren’t in this to crush the whole thing but they have to understand, that when East Lansing finds out about this, they’re going to have some concerns and some issues, and we certainly look forward to working with them and working with CATA to find a resolve.”

6 News also spoke with Sandy Draggoo, the CEO and Executive Director of CATA following the vote.

Draggoo said CATA has been responsive to the concerns raised by members of the public throughout this entire process and while she admits the process has been frustrating, she said CATA will move forward to work with the community to get everyone on the same page.

“It’s very frustrating when you’ve put all this work, for all this time, and then sit and hear what you folks heard tonight,” Draggoo said. “We have answered their concerns before and when we come to these meetings, it’s like we didn’t answer them and we’ve answered them, and we’ll answer them again.”

6 News has been following this story since the beginning and will continue to do so with any new information as it develops.

In the meantime, CATA has built a website with information surrounding the BRT project, click here to see it.

 

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