The Ann Arbor Transit Authority’s board of directors filed Articles of Incorporation with the Washtenaw County Clerk on Tuesday to formally begin the process of expanding transit services throughout the county.

The new countywide transit program will expand and create new services in participating communities as part of the authority’s Five-Year Transit Program.

Some of the proposed county-wide services include more parking spaces for the Park and Ride program, more bus stops and new technology with real-time travel information. Current services — such as the door-to-door service for disabled residents and seniors — will also be extended and improved upon in the communities, according to the proposal.

Ford said in an AATA press release that the prospect of countywide expansion has been well received by the community.

“The support for mass transit and county-wide service is overwhelming — 70 percent of Washtenaw County residents believe it’s important,” Ford said.

The AATA also filed passages accounting for board structure and governance, as well as the new powers and limitations for the authority. Each community has 30 days to decide if it would like to join the authority.

Once AATA Inc. is established, the authority will add representatives to the board and restructure its funding model, as necessary.

AATA board member Jesse Bernstein said in the press release that increased public transit will benefit the city economically.

“Good, affordable public transportation promotes a healthier quality of life, attracts businesses and jobs locally and helps spur economic development throughout our region,” Bernstein said.

Bernstein, who just finished his term as chairman of the board, said the organization’s first priority is fixing present services.

“Significant gaps exist in the services being provided now,” Bernstein said. “Some areas of Washtenaw County have no service whatsoever. We need to ensure our growing elderly population is able to remain independent.”

Bernstein will lead a district advisory committee meeting in October and will address specific concerns raised by residents and council members.

The new county-wide services will go into effect if voters from the joining communities approve funding.

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