After years of consideration, Emmet County commissioners met Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of adding public transportation to the county.
Public comment went back and forth Thursday night, lasting over an hour. Some said public transit is a must, while those opposed are concerned about higher taxes that could come. County Commissioner Charlie MacInnis says public transit in Emmet County has been debated for years.
“There’s no question that a minority of people could benefit from transit, the question is how do you pay for that. How do you bill people in northern Emmet County for a service that they will never be able to use. That’s the dilemma,” MacInnis explains.
Petoskey’s Mayor John Murphy spoke at Thursday evening’s public comment and called for commissioners to do something. He says adding public transit will make a difference for disabled people in the community and help with worker shortages.
“I’m asking you to somehow address it. We’re not asking you as a city, or asking you personally how to address it, but I’m asking you to address it. I think there’s a big need for the city,” Murphy states.
The county has tried their hand at public transit in 2018 with EMGO. It fell flat leaving many people skeptical.
“It really wasn’t that well managed. It also wasn’t very well used. It duplicated other services, and it wasn’t a very good experiment. We tried, we failed,” MacInnis says.
No final decision was made Thursday night. Commissioners say they will mull over their options from the meeting.
“I think something could be done. There’s no question there’s a need. The question is how do you fulfill that need,” Macinnis states.