Transportation is too often overlooked as a factor with a big influence on individuals’ health and the health of our communities. We know and see this first hand at St. John Providence every day. Unfortunately, southeast Michigan is the largest region in the country without a reliable regional transit system. This negatively affects individual, community and public health.
Disconnected transit prevents people from getting to doctor appointments, the grocery store and work every day in southeast Michigan.
But this November, we have the opportunity to change that and connect our communities. We believe a healthy regional transit system will help lead to a healthier region. That’s why we’re urging a “vote yes for regional transit.” Reliable public transit will boost health and wellness and improve access to health care and jobs across Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
St. John Providence is one of the largest providers of inpatient care in southeast Michigan, as well as one of the region’s largest employers. Thousands of patients and employees travel to our seven hospital campuses and hundreds of physician offices and medical centers daily. We see the negative effect of disconnected transit every day.
Our ability to meet the needs of our patients depends on the nearly 16,000 southeast Michiganders we employ. Reliable transit is essential to get to work. Unfortunately, few of our employees can regularly rely on regional public transit to do that.
And for patients, an inability to get medications, get to their physician’s office, or get to screening and diagnostic tests leads to unnecessary hospitalizations, exacerbation of illnesses and delays in critical treatments.
Increasing access to critical healthcare services is essential for population health. Disconnected regional transit, however, negatively affects the efforts of the entire health care community to improve access. Seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on regional public transit to maintain mobility and independence, too often suffer the consequences. Patients missing appointments due to a lack of transportation is a major issue, but our patients also can’t get to grocery stores to get the healthy food they need, for example, to maintain and improve their health.
The Regional Transit Authority has outlined a comprehensive, viable and cost-effective solution for southeast Michigan to reliably connect our communities in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne Counties. Connected regional transit can and will improve the health of residents and our communities throughout the region.
Reliable regional transit is not just about connecting people to health care services, grocery stores or jobs. Connected regional transit would be an economic boon for Southeast Michigan and all who live, work, do business and play here.
The American Public Transportation Association studies show that for every $1 invested in regional transit, $4 is returned in economic value. That means new jobs, companies expanding or coming to the region, vital infrastructure construction and growth occurring around transit lines.
The bottom line is simple – this is the kind of infrastructure investment we need to grow our economy, connect the region and ensure healthy lives, communities and businesses. Connecting our communities will move the region forward. At St. John Providence, we are 100 percent committed to supporting efforts that not only improve access to critical health care services for our patients, but will also help our employees get to work.
Vote yes for connected regional transit this November. It is vital to improving the health of southeast Michigan.