Saginaw faith-based organization Ezekiel Project supported public transportation with a ‘transit action’ Tuesday

Saginaw faith-based organization Ezekiel Project supported public transportation with a ‘transit action’ Tuesday
Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010, 1:41 PM
By Eric Joyce | The Saginaw News


SAGINAW — Transportation signals a transition for Saginaw’s Ezekiel Project.

About 20 members of the faith-based community organization supported a five-year, 3-mill renewal appearing in the Aug. 3 primary to fund Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services.

The Rev. Ron Wagner, vice president of the Ezekiel Project and pastor of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church at 612 N. Michigan in Saginaw, said accessible transportation is an issue of jobs, health and quality of life for Saginaw residents.

“It’s providing a quality of life for people that aren’t able to afford their own transportation, that’s why I support this millage,” he said. “For me it’s an issue of quality of life for all of our citizens.”

Tuesday’s “transit action” was the first step in a push for a county-wide transportation initiative according to Ezekiel Project community organizer Grady Holmes Jr.

“We believe it’s not just a city of Saginaw issue, it’s a Saginaw County issue,” he said.

Holmes said the faith-based organization plans to speak to county leaders in the coming months in support of a task force to consider a STARS-like transportation system for all of Saginaw County.

Former president of the Ezekiel Project Joyce Seals, far right, 61, and Mary McDonald-Barnes, 58, both of Saginaw explain to Quinton Kimble, 91, the benefits of voting for the renewal of the public transportation taxes on the August 3 ballot. “It’s absolutely essential, ” Seals said. “Every city should have a viable public transit system. Even those who have cars need to be responsible citizens and vote so that those without cars can still get around.”

STARS general manager Sylvester Payne said the Ezekiel Project has continued to support the transit system which he said serves about 1 million passengers per year.

“It’s a service that is needed to make the community whole,” he said.

STARS operates a fleet of 58 buses on 11 routes every 40 minutes from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays according to Payne.

Saginaw resident and Ezekiel Project member David Williams said he has relied on the public transportation service for the last year and a half and wishes STARS buses would run later in the evening.

“If you are without your own transportation, as I am at this present time, you can’t always rely upon friends and relatives to get you to where you need to go,” the 54-year-old said. “That’s why I think it is essential for this millage to be renewed.”

Wayne Ferguson, 54, said he has relied on the service for more than six years and knows nearly all of the drivers by name. The Saginaw resident said he uses the service to take him everywhere he needs to go for anything from grocery trips to visits to his doctor.

“I’m always on the bus, almost every day,” he said.

Ezekiel Project co-president Willie Haynes said the faith-based organization must both pray and act on its prayers to aid Saginaw residents.

“When you see a need, you must step up and meet that need,” he said. “We as a community should come together to support one another, especially the ones who are poor and need a helping hand.”


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