June 10 2013 12:00 AM

Tri-County Regional Planning Commission vote on expanding Michigan Flyer services will be reconsidered at next meeting

Courtesy photo

This story was updated on June 10 to say that Daryl Baker was a "No" vote. 

Wednesday, May 29 — Due to a tie vote at its meeting tonight, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission will reconsider approving a project that would expand Michigan Flyer’s bus routes at its next meeting on June 26.

Michigan Flyer has received a nearly $600,000 federal grant to expand its busing operations between East Lansing and Ann Arbor. But the project needs to be approved for the commission’s Transportation Improvement Plan by the 19-member board before it can get the money.

The debate on whether to approve the project has the Capital Region Airport Authority and Michigan Flyer and their supporters at each others' throats. The airport contends that expanded routes to Ann Arbor from East Lansing will take away from airplane ridership to Detroit Metro airport.

Due to the absence vice chairman Brian McGrain at tonight’s meeting, the vote came up a tie, 9-9. Commission member John Veenstra said he would move at the next meeting to have the vote reconsidered because of the tie. Committee Chair Carol Wood said for the vote to be reconsidered at the next meeting, there would need to be majority support.

If there is not majority support at the June 26 meeting to have the vote reconsidered, then the vote remains a tie, which is the same as the project being voted down, Wood said.

The nine commissioners who voted in favor of the approving the project were Russel Bauerle, Jim Osieczonek, Kevin Beard, Dianne Holman, Carol Koenig, John Veenstra, Tina Houghton, Shirley Rodgers and Denise Jackson.

Those who opposed approving the project were Treasurer David Pohl, Adam Stacy, Roger Eakin, Secretary Ken Fletcher, Darrell Tennis, Brian Jeffries, Ralph Monsma, Daryl Baker and Wood.

At the meeting tonight, 21 people spoke during public comment. Of those 21 people, 17 of them voiced their support of expanding Michigan Flyer’s routes. Only three people opposed the expansion.

The Transportation Review Committee ran into a similar situation on May 16 when voting on whether to recommend approving the project. That vote also came up as a tie because of an absence, therefore no recommendation was made.