A new FAST bus, operated by SMART. Photo via SMART.

If you could imagine one of metro Detroit’s three major counties without bus service… well, it almost happened.

Macomb County voters narrowly approved a ballot measure funding SMART – the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation – in August.

The margin of victory for the millage renewal, however, was less than 40 votes. So the advocacy group The Macomb Taxpayers Alliance requested a recount of the 155,000 votes cast.

After finishing a recount by the Macomb Board of Canvassers of 75 percent of the votes — a process that began August 29 — there was just a three vote difference.

“With only 25 percent of the recount left, it was clear the previously-certified election results would not be reversed. Given how incredibly close this tax vote was, voters deserved a recount to make sure the initial results were correct,” said Simon Haddad, vice chair of the MTA.

The original certified vote count will stand.

“We are thrilled to be able to get back to concentrating on doing what we do best, which is getting 70 percent of SMART riders to work and getting people with special needs and those who are unable to afford a car to the places they need to go,” said John C. Hertel, General Manager of SMART. “Now that this is over, we are going to continue to build on the successful service that has resulted in an 11 percent increase in ridership. Also, as always, we not only look forward to our collaboration with Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties, but also our renewed and promising coordination efforts with the City of Detroit.”

The 1-mill millage will be in effect for four years.

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