After years of deliberation, Emmet County commissioners met Thursday night to discuss the possibility of adding public transit to the county.
Public comments went back and forth Thursday night, lasting more than an hour. Some have said that public transit is a must, while those against it worry about higher taxes that could arise. County Commissioner Charlie MacInnis said public transit in Emmet County has been the subject of debate for years.
“There is no doubt that a minority of people could benefit from public transport, the question is how to pay for it. How do you charge people in northern Emmet County for a service they will never be able to use? That’s the dilemma,” says MacInnis.
Petoskey Mayor John Murphy spoke during Thursday night’s public comments and called on the commissioners to do something. He says the addition of public transit will make a difference for people with disabilities in the community and help fill labor shortages.
“I ask you to remedy this one way or another. We’re not asking you as a city, or asking you personally how to fix it, but I’m asking you to. I think there’s a great need for the city,” Murphy said.
The county dabbled in public transit in 2018 with EMGO. It fell flat leaving many people skeptical.
“It was really not well managed. It hasn’t been used very well either. It duplicated other services, and it wasn’t a very good experience. We tried, we failed,” MacInnis says.
No final decision was made on Thursday evening. The commissioners say they will consider their options from the meeting.
“I think something could be done. There is no doubt that there is a need. The question is how to meet that need,” says Macinnis.