Blog: Jesse Bernstein

Jesse Bernstein says he feels half his age. Maybe that's why he's so invested in the idea of developing a vision of the future for Ann Arbor's Transportation Authority. The former president of A2's Chamber of Commerce believes that it is imperative we develop a comprehensive vision of what mass transit will look like a decade from now, and beyond. More than reading his blog, he wants you to weigh in on what the future of Washtenaw County's public transit should look like.

Jesse Bernstein - Post 2: Let's Not Get Ahead Of Ourselves

If we do not know where we are going, we will never get there.

"But there is no money for any kind of public transit."

Before we start finding objections, we need to know what we are objecting to and we do not have a vision.

We worked hard to convince several important local officials that we are not ready to present a financing plan. WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR A MILLAGE VOTE.

Sure, we may in the future, but only if we have a shared vision of what we want. That has to come first.

As President of the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, a number of developers, both local and nationwide talked with me about major projects in the area. One element that ran through these discussions was the need for public transit, whether the population to be served was young professionals or our mature citizens. And these developers were willing to talk about incorporating stations and other capital expenses for transit in their development plans. With public transit available, the projects could be larger and include more uses if centered around a transit stop.

This is called transit oriented development. We will look at the experiences of other communities who have initiated transit improvements.

I ask that we all look at what we want before we decide that we can’t do it. 

Spiro Agnew once used the term, “…nattering nabobs of negativity…” (I can’t believe I am quoting Spiro Agnew – a former Vice President under Nixon and convicted felon) to denigrate his opponents. Well, let’s for once try this vision thing and see if it helps us move forward, even if we make adjustments along the way.

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