Emmet County Furthers Discussion on Potential Public Transit System

“We are one of the few counties in the state that does not have a public transit system.”

With a current system that only services seniors and those with disabilities, Emmet County Commissioner Jonathan Scheel of District 5, says some form of a fully public bus system is necessary.

“Workforce is really important for our business people here, their employees are having a hard time to get to work,” Scheel, said.

In the busier parts of the county a high cost of living is a reality, so some travel a long way to work each day.

“Housing is too expensive in let’s say Petoskey and Harbor Springs so their workers are living farther out and they are having a hard time getting to work,” Scheel, explained.

Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce President Carlin Smith says public transportation in many cases has helped with worker shortage.

“There’s obviously a profound workforce shortage in Northern Michigan and one of the barriers to getting people to work is transportation,” Smith, explained.

Smith says he’s glad the people of Emmet County are taking an interest in the discussion.

“Hopefully through all of this we will be able to come up with a solution that ideally is a win, win for taxpayers and those who need public transportation in our community,” Smith, added.

Emmet County commissioners will meet with local counties and MDOT this Wednesday to see if sharing systems in nearby Charlevoix or Cheboygan could be an option.

“We want to start small, we want to be successful, we know there’s a need, we’re not sure how big that need is right now, when we meet with the other counties, we are hoping to be able to contract with them,” Scheel, added.