In a at Troy City Hall, Troy City Council voted 4-3 to approve a submitted by Councilman Dane Slater earlier this month that caps the federally funded transit center project at $6.27 million.
The cost – reduced from $8.4 million – was meant to entice a "yes" vote from a majority of City Council members, including Councilman Wade Fleming, who but indicated he would be willing to vote for a less costly version of the project.
“I met with John Szerlag and John Miller and … thought the cost of the transit center was too high,” Fleming said during Tuesday's meeting. Fleming said he and Slater worked with design firm Hubbel, Roth & Clark, city planners, the and others to reduce the cost of the transit center.
“I have tried to represent all the residents of this city as well as the business community, which is vital to our future," Fleming said. "I think we made the right decision, and only time will tell, and I think we need to be looking for more compromise in this city."
Slater said he applauded Fleming, city staff and the Chamber for their hard work on the transit center, saying, "It's a good thing for Troy."
"What has happened should have happened a long time ago," Councilman Jim Campbell said. "It's good for the city, it's good for the state, it's good for the people of Troy, it's good for jobs – there's no down side to this."
Project encourages Troy to "move on together"
During the meeting, Troy Chamber of Commerce President Michele Hodges pledged to fund the operating costs for the transit center, which are estimated to be around $31,000 per year, with help from local businesses.
“We see this as a great opportunity to relieve the tax burden on our Troy taxpayers and demonstrate a strong shared commitment on behalf of the business community," Hodges said. "We hope not a person in Troy feels alienated by this decision because they have our honor and our pledge to make this work for all citizens of Troy."
"It’s fantastic news for the region," Troy Chamber of Commerce secretary Jordan Kotubey said. "At the end of the day, this is regional collaboration at its best. … We’re excited at the Chamber."
The council's decision, while condemned by some Troy residents and individuals, is being lauded by others, including and .
"Investing in a regional transit plan for the Greater Detroit area is critical in spurring economic development, creating jobs and building our way out of these tough economic times," Peters said in a statement released Tuesday.
"The decision to accept these funds moves our region closer to a broader Greater Detroit transit plan. I think credit is due to the business community and the families of Troy that refused to take no for an answer from City Council."
Troy Mayor Janice Daniels, who has consistently voted against the project, voted against it again Tuesday but said she will support council's decision to proceed.
"With the majority vote as it was, I intend to do everything I possibly can to make sure that we move forward in a positive and business-friendly manner," Daniels said.
"Hopefully we can move on together as a city," Councilman Doug Tietz, who voted against the project, said. "We need to circle the wagons. … You have to start moving after this passes."
"The city has to rally behind this system now," added Councilman Dave Henderson, who also opposed the project. "I'll be there at the ribbon cutting, and we'll make it work."
Facebook, Twitter react to council's vote
Social media was abuzz Tuesday evening with comments, both positive and negative, about the council's decision to pass the resolution and move forward with the transit center project.
"The project still doesn't make any business sense," William W. Murray wrote on Troy Patch's Facebook wall. "I hope I am wrong but with limited train service (no commuter/high speed rail), a bad location for bus service and no real business plan I have my doubts. At least, we will have a well built, expensive unused building. Maybe we should form a committee to determine how we can use the building in the future."
"YESSSSSSS!!!" Genevieve Murskyj posted on Facebook. "Sincerely applaud all the extra efforts made by Mr. D. Slater; a true team player who honestly represents the residents of Troy. Thank you!!!"
Catherine Cooper Bauer wrote, "This is awesome for our city!"
"There goes the safest city in Michigan!" Tina Marie Lees posted.
"This will cost the taxpayers dearly not to mention bring in crime," Ron Dwyer wrote.
Proponents of the transit center also took to Twitter, saying:
- @sharonmacd: "Troy will have her transit center!!!"
- @LaurenWeber84: "@LambertsOnline Great news on the transit center! Thanks for posting the update :)"
- @randypitler: "Good, but they cut $2m for no reason."
- @NancyDaley: "Congrats to the Troy, MI city council for moving FORWARD tonight."
- @RepGaryPeters: "Credit is due to the business community and families of Troy that refused to take no for an answer from City Council."
"This is a very positive night for the City of Troy, not just because the transit center project will proceed, but because our City Council, city staff and business leadership demonstrated a true collaborative spirit in making this important decision," said Sue Martin, spokesperson for Troy Residents Unified for a Strong Troy (TRUST), in a press release Tuesday.
"The pragmatism and due diligence is exactly what this city needs and what will keep us unified going forward."