Monday, April 23, 2012

The "Big 4" Talk Transit in Detroit - And Miss the Point

Light Rail Photo by Samuel Lyons
Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, and Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis, who was standing in for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, who is still on medical leave, all got together this past Friday to talk about a variety of issues facing our region with mass transit taking up a large portion of their conversation. Crain's Detroit Business has a full article about this event here.

I feel a need to take exception to one particular comment that Mr. Lewis made regarding the M-1 RAIL project, which is an effort to bring 3.4 miles of light rail to Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

From the article above:
"With regard to M1, one of the challenges the city has is we are supportive of M1, but we can't afford to subsidize it," Lewis said. "We were trying to be very clear that as long as it's built and it's self-funded, we can support it. I think we're getting very close to having something we all agree to."
First, if one is not willing to even consider any financial support for an effort then one isn't really supporting. In such an instance, one is simply not objecting to it. There is, I must point out, a tremendous difference between supporting a certain thing and not objecting to it.

Second, and perhaps most important of all, the City of Detroit also cannot afford to spend $8.6 million to operate the Detroit Police Department's Office of the Deputy Chief - Management Services nor can we afford to provide our Chief of Police with more personal aides than his counterparts in Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, and Indianapolis combined. However, we still do these things anyway.

I firmly believe that if we used our resources wisely then we could do a lot of impressive things in this town.

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