The city of Troy has an atrocious track record. In the past ten years, council members denied a vote to host an Ikea in Troy, reasoning the big blue box was an eyesore in a town of strip malls. Under its poor management, Troy has made national news for being a wealthy city considering doing away with its public library.
In its most recent in a string of abysmal decisions, the Troy City Council is delaying a vote to bring a transit center to the city. The project, slated to connect already existing train lines that go between Chicago and Southeast Michigan, will be supported by $8.5 million in federal funds.
However, Troy, yet again, does not get it.
“How do you justify taking $8.5 million from a government that is trillions of dollars in debt?” Janice asks.
Easily. You have to spend money to make money. The government spending money on this project will do a lot to make money for its citizens. And this is good for everyone, because citizens who have money can spend more money. They can afford health insurance, they can pump money into an economy that needs it. In a similar project done in Normal, Illinois another city not exactly the epicenter of public transport, a similar investment furnished $200 million in private investment and 375 jobs.
The Detroit Free Press has it right when they argue that this issue is about more than Troy. Troy’s inability to see the bigger picture, whether that would be t
Troy has a track record of turning down job-creating policies and degrading the public investments that attract residents and keep them. Mistaken ideology, Janice, should not get in the way of a pragmatic policy to help residents needing jobs in your city.
The cancellation of the federally-funded light rail through the Woodward Corridor is not the worst outcome of this project.
The federal funding that was to be spent on a lightrail system intended to connect Detroit to Ferndale will instead be funneled into a suburban bus system. In all likelihood, a suburban bus rail system will better serve Detroiters, namely because 60% of city residents with jobs work outside of the city center.
Lightrail should be more than a pipe dream, but as the Detroit bus system slows, as routes become increasingly erratic, maintaining transportation infrastructure for people to have access to what employment opportunities are available is more crucial than the possibility of garnering what some have termed a “$3 billion investment.” It is likely that investing in lightrail would garner lots more investment than the area currently enjoys; however, achieving higher employment generates higher tax revenues for Detroit, the lack of which is the reason the city lost the federal funding for the Woodward lightrail project in the first place.
The Detroit City Council, by a vote of 6 to 2, voted to not touch their allotted $700,000 per year budgets for office expenses amidst their calls for further concessions from unions and a cut to the mayor’s budget.
If Michigan Governor Snyder needed any affirmation to his decision to begin the review process ultimately leading to an emergency manager for Detroit, then the City Council may as well have raised their hands for an emergency manager in the same way that they voted.
The council members argue that they’ve taken 10% cuts for the past three years. So, too, have city businesses, city workers, city residents, and the constituents who they serve. This is not a time for exceptions, this is a time for the city council to show solidarity by giving up the same cell phones, city cars and perks that their constituents have already done without.
Detroit, this move boils down to how to cast your ballot in for the next city council elections.
Vote for: City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown and Councilwoman JoAnn Watson.
As for the rest?
I’m taking suggestions. I’m sure there’s a cushy board position around there somewhere. Maybe check out vacancies at Metro Airport?