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MICHELE OBERHOLTZER

Transportation Policy Plan

Despite being at the heart of the automotive industry, many Detroit and Hamtramck residents are unable to afford the costs of driving. We need a transportation system that bridges us together rather than keeps us apart. I will work for policies that address insurance redlining, road repair, and quality public transportation.

CAR INSURANCE

A. We must do away with redlining on car insurance.

  • We must prevent car insurance from being based on an individual’s zip code or credit score, which are completely unrelated to an individual’s driving record. The current practice lends itself to unchecked power from insurance companies, and free rein to implement racist, classist, and xenophobic policies.
  • On day one, I would like to advance legislation that reduce discriminatory redlining practices. Because of the great power that insurance companies hold in Michigan, and especially in Detroit, there must also be a diverse oversight commission monitoring the policies of insurance companies.
  • We need to change laws to protect our neighbors, not to protect corporations.

B. We need to reform Personal Injury Protection (PIP).

  • The main driver of car insurance costs in Michigan is the PIP. The hospitals in Detroit that receive a large amount of medicare and medicaid patients charge higher rates for procedures insured by PIP. They essentially use PIP claims to subsidize their operations.
  • PIP should remain as a social program which allows people to afford quality medical care, yet PIP needs to stop being a way for insurance companies to charge astronomical rates and take advantage of drivers in Michigan, and especially in Detroit. This practice makes driving a privilege for only the people who can afford these high rates, and disproportionately harms low-income individuals.
  • PIP should be an opt-in program, and rates must be fair for Medicare and Medicaid patients, as well as low-income individuals not receiving other social service programs (including undocumented people – no one should be denied affordable medical care for their citizenship status). We need to have a price cap for how much a hospital or company can charge for a specific procedure. We need to defend people, not insurance companies or lawyers. 

C. We must approach the issue of car insurance from an interdisciplinary angle, considering all aspects and related issues.

  • Medicare for all would solve the problems of PIP by guaranteeing universal healthcare as a basic right, and secure the safety of all Michiganders.
  • Equal and sufficient funding for all of our public schools – across the city and the state – would reduce expenses and driving distance for families trying to bring their children to school, without parents having to risk driving without insurance.
  • Providing affordable housing and water will create more stable homes for people who want to insure their families with PIP.
  • Finally, implementing a comprehensive system of public transportation will break the monopoly that insurance companies have on all forms of transportation, and produce economical and environmentally friendly alternatives.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

A. Even if driving is affordable, we need effective, affordable public transit for anyone who cannot drive as well as for environmental reasons. Michigan needs a comprehensive system of public transportation. In Southeast Michigan specifically, I support the ballot measure for the Regional Transit Authority Plan.

The plan would establish bus and rail services, connecting communities in Detroit to communities in Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties. The plan would also implement a low-cost option of getting to Detroit Metro Airport, making air travel more accessible as well.

This plan would highly increase local bus services, increasing the amount of public transportation in the City of Detroit as well as Metro Detroit. This plan would create nearly 70,000 jobs.

B. We need to seriously assess the financial impact of buying a car and also needing to purchase expensive insurance, as well as the environmental impact on a city in which cars are almost the only method of transportation. Every major city in the United States has a system of public transportation. Detroit deserves just as efficient and accessible of a public transportation system. 

ROAD REPAIRS

A. We need to repair our roads and bridges. I am an Engineer and I know how critical it is that we invest in fixing our transportation infrastructure. We can finance road repairs with money from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), as well as from a “gas floor” pricing structure on oil.

We need to build infrastructure that is sustainable and safe for everyone in our state, and we especially need to make it easier to drive in Detroit.