Millage Election - Thank You


Bay Area Transportation Millage Graphic 2020 Update

Northern Michigan Bay Area Transportation Authority Millage Summer 2019 Update


Northern Michigan Bay Area Transportation Authority Winter 2019 Millage Update

Northern Michigan Bay Area Transportation Authority Spring 2018 Millage Update


Northern Michigan Bay Area Transportation Authority Summer 2017 Millage Update

What is the millage proposal request?

On May 2, 2017 Grand Traverse and Leelanau County residents will vote on a ballot proposal to levy 0.5 mill to provide BATA local funding starting January 2018 and lasting until December 2022. Read the full ballot language. Download BATA's millage education brochure.

What will be the annual cost to the homeowner?

It will cost people who own a $200,000 home ($100,000 taxable value) about $16 more annually than people currently pay or $50 per year total. This increase equals the cost of about one large pizza per year.

Is the 0.5 mill millage rate request a renewal or an increase?

This is an increase from BATA’s current millage rate of .3447 that expires on Dec. 31, 2017. BATA hasn’t requested a millage increase in more than 14 years.

What will happen if BATA’s millage request fails?

If the millage isn’t approved BATA will lose 35% of its funding and will therefore need to reduce services accordingly.

How does BATA’s 0.5 mill request compare to other local and transit millage rates in the region?

The average public transit millage rate in Michigan is 0.6 mill. Other local millage rates include the Grand Traverse County Road Commission at 1.0 mill, Traverse Area District Library at 0.9544 mill, TBA-ISD at 2.9312 mills, NMC at 2.9400 mills.

Local Tax Recipient

Millage Rate

Annual Taxpayer Cost ($100,000 taxable value)

BATA 2017 Millage Request

0.5 mill

$50 a year

Statewide Transit Millage Rate Average

0.6 mill

$60 a year

Grand Traverse County Road Commission

1.0 mill

$100 a year

Traverse Area District Library

0.9544  mill

$95 a year


2.9312 mills

$293 a year

Northwest Michigan College

2.9400 mills

$294 a year

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

The goal of the millage is to allow BATA to sustain operations and grow its current level of service by providing funds to add services requested by the community, replace its aging fleet, maintain facilities, and make shelter and stop improvements. A recent Community Needs Assessment identified the following needs:

  • Rural Service Improvements: Improve rural service with more direct door to door connections to Traverse City especially for the region’s disabled and aging populations
  • Downtown Loop: Create a downtown loop route with increased frequency, such as buses arriving every 15 minutes or less
  • Technology Enhancements: Increase rider-friendly technologies such as online scheduling and purchasing, mobile payment options and real-time bus tracking
  • Park-n-Ride: Support economic growth with visitor and commuter park-n-ride transportation options
  • Fleet and Facilities: Replace aging vehicles to create a leaner and greener fleet combined with bus stop improvements

How much will the millage raise in the first year?

The millage will raise an additional $1.1 million in revenue per year, which results in $3.55 million in annual property tax revenue for BATA collected from Leelanau and Grand Traverse County residents.

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.

How is BATA funded?

BATA operates on a $7.4 million annual budget and receives its funding from these sources: Federal Government (18%), State Government (38%) and 44% from local sources, of which 35% is provided by the local millage levy. Capital purchases such as buses and new technologies have traditionally been funded through grants, but state and federal transportation grants aren’t as widely available as they once were.

Why can’t BATA do more with the funds it currently receives?

BATA is operating at its maximum service capacity and can’t maintain its current service level without an increase in local revenue. Increased funds are needed to maintain current service levels and adequately fund ongoing capital needs such as fleet replacements and new technologies as well as the operation of any new services in response to community needs. 

How many rides does BATA provide?

BATA provides nearly 1,500 rides a day and averages nearly 500,000 rides a year and climbing. BATA has seen a 6% increase in ridership in the past year on its City Loop fixed route services alone.  More than 177,000 rides annually are provided to seniors or disabled riders.

How many people work at BATA?

BATA employs 120 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 60 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 are equipped with wheelchair lifts and bike racks. BATA has recently begun replacing 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 does BATA have empty buses driving around town?

BATA’s ridership varies throughout the day, similar to traffic on area roadways. Not all of BATA’s buses are filled to capacity consistently, however BATA s provides 1,500 rides daily; totaling half a million trips per year.  BATA’s service model is divided into two types of service, on-demand LINK service and fixed-route LOOP service. While BATA’s LINK service may only have 2-4 passengers on board at a time, the LOOP 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.

BATA milestones:

  • Increased ridership from 380,000 in 2003 to an average 500,000 rides a year today, a 32% increase.
  • Grew from a primarily on-demand dial-a-ride service model to more of a fixed route system that provides regular stops and better connections in Traverse City and the surrounding villages.
  • Replaced 74% of the fleet with new buses (2010) and continues to make fleet improvements.
  • Built one of the region’s first LEED certified buildings to serve as a downtown transfer station on Hall Street (2006).
  • Updated the Cass Road Transfer Station (2012).
  • Made technology upgrades including mobile data terminals, new website (2013), electronic fare boxes (2013), and Google Transit integration (2017).