Millage Request - November 8, 2022


What is the millage proposal request?

On November 8, 2022, Grand Traverse and Leelanau County residents will vote on a ballot proposal to levy 0.4788 mill to continue BATA operations for bus service starting January 2023 and lasting until December 2027.


Is the 0.4788 mill millage rate request a renewal or an increase?

It is a renewal. This is a continuation of the current property millage at a lower tax rate than the previous voter approved 2017 amount of 0.5 mills.


What does BATA plan to provide if the millage is approved?

  • Deliver safe, high-quality, efficient, and reliable transportation services in our region.
  • Provide essential transportation for seniors, students, and persons with disabilities linking people and communities to health, wellness, and education opportunities.
  • Connect people to jobs that support and grow our local economy including healthcare, the service industry, retail, and manufacturing.


How much will the millage raise?

The millage will raise $4,783,786 in annual property tax revenue for BATA collectively from Leelanau and Grand Traverse County residents. 

  • Leelanau: $1,636,047
  • Grand Traverse: $3,147,740


How many rides does BATA provide?

BATA services 900 square miles of Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties and provides nearly 1,000 rides a day and more than 2 million rides since 2017. BATA has seen a 124% increase in ridership in the past year on its Link On-Demand service alone.  More than 170,000 rides annually are provided to seniors or disabled riders.


How is BATA funded?

BATA operates on a $11.7 million annual budget and receives its funding from these sources: Federal Government (19%), State Government (38%) and 43% from local sources. 34% of BATA's total funding is provided by the local millage levy. Capital purchases such as buses and new technologies are traditionally funded through grants.


Is the millage paying for the construction of BATA’s New Operations Center?

No – BATA secured more than $16 million in federal and state grants for the project and is continuing to secure additional funding sources as needed.


What will happen if BATA’s millage request fails?

If the millage isn’t approved, BATA will lose up to 40% of its total funding and will need to reduce transportation services accordingly until a local millage is approved. Without a local funding source, BATA will not be able to receive the federal and state funding that accounts for its remaining operating budget.


How many people work at BATA?

BATA employs 110 people including drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, customer service representatives and a small administrative team. BATA offers service 365 days a year servicing all of Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.


How many buses are in BATA’s fleet?

BATA has more than 80 vehicles in its fleet ranging from small conversion vans to large passenger buses to handle a variety of transportation needs. More than 90% of BATA’s fleet is equipped with wheelchair lifts and bike racks. BATA has replaced 45% of its aging fleet with propane powered buses that save on maintenance costs and are better for the environment with lower greenhouse and carbon monoxide emissions compared to gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Who is responsible for BATA’s oversight?

BATA was established in 1985 and is a legal authority formed under ACT 196 of Michigan Law. It is overseen by a seven-member Board of Directors with representatives from both Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.


Why are some of BATA's buses nearly empty?

BATA’s ridership varies throughout the day, similar to heavy or light traffic on area roadways. Not all of BATA’s buses are filled to capacity consistently, however BATA provides 1,000 rides daily: averaging nearly 400,000 trips per year. BATA’s service model is divided into two types of service, on-demand Link service and fixed-route Loop and Bayline service. While BATA’s LINK service may only have 2-4 passengers on board at a time, the Loop and Bayline service is often near capacity.  BATA believes the best way to serve the public is through reliable, consistent and comprehensive coverage for Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties.


Will property tax capturing entities such as DDAs and Brownfield Authorities receive a portion of BATA’s millage?

Yes, by law a portion of BATA’s millage funds will be distributed to other government entities that capture property taxes. This only applies to residents that live within one of these property tax capture jurisdictions. For example, if you live in Leelanau County, your taxes will not be captured to support the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority. Government entities that capture a portion of BATA’s property tax funding include City of Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Village of Kingsley Downtown Development Authority, Village of Fife Lake Downtown Development Authority, Interlochen Downtown Development Authority and Leelanau County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.


BATA Milestones Since Last Millage Request:

-Launched Link On-Demand (a new service) allowing riders to request transportation in real-time within 30 minutes or less. Link On-Demand continues to set record ridership milestones.

- Expanded our green bus fleet powered by domestic propane.

- Improved bus stops with more than 60+ enhancements to shelters, benches, and accessibility.

- Connected the region with the launch of the fare-free, high-frequency Bayline route.

- Secured federal and state funding for a new operations headquarters facility.

- Reached record ridership with more than 591,000 rides in 2019, and more than 2 million rides given since 2017.

- Planning for the future with the launch of BATA Next Wave to map out services and vision for the next 5-10 years in conjunction with adapting to the changing needs of residents in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties.


How does the actually ballot langauge read?

Bay Area Transportation Authority
Millage Proposal – Nov. 8, 2022

Shall the Bay Area Transportation Authority, Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties, State of Michigan, be authorized to levy annually an amount not to exceed .4788 mill ($0.48 for each $1,000 of taxable value), which is a renewal of the .5 mills rolled back to .4788 mills under the Headlee Amendment, against all taxable property within the Bay Area Transportation Authority limits (the jurisdictional limits of Grand Traverse County and Leelanau County) for a period of five (5) years, 2023 to 2027, inclusive, for the purpose of providing funds for all public transportation authority purposes permitted by law, including all capital and operating expenses and providing transportations services to seniors and persons with disabilities? The estimate of the revenue the Bay Area Transportation Authority will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the Bay Area Transportation Authority in the first year (2023) is approximately $4,783,786.

By law, a portion of the Bay Area Transportation Authority millage raised will be distributed to other governmental entities which capture property taxes. These are the City of Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, Village of Kingsley Downtown Development Authority, Village of Fife Lake Downtown Development Authority, Interlochen Downtown Development Authority, and Leelanau County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.