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Troy City Council Votes Down Transit Center Project Proposal

Council voted 4-3 not to award an $8.4 million subcontract for the design of the Troy Transit Center.

The Troy City Council voted 4-3 Monday night not to approve a subcontract in the amount of $8.4 million for the design of the Troy , which is funded by a federal grant from the Federal Railroad Administration.

It is unlikely that the council, which has just two years from the time they signed the contract to complete the project, will come to an agreement in time to use the funds.

Before City Council voted, Councilman Wade Fleming – who has voted both ways on the project in the past – surprised fellow council members by suggesting a "compromise" amendment – a $5 million cap on the project instead of the $8.4 million grant.

“I’m always willing to compromise, but I don’t think this is a compromise," replied Councilman Dane Slater, who supports the project.

“We either need to postpone this to give an opportunity to even consider Councilman Fleming’s amendment, or we should flat out vote this down and start over," said Mayor Janice Daniels, who opposes the project.

A half-hour into deliberation, Fleming said, “I’m willing to go now to $6 million, and that’s it.”

After an attempt by Slater to cap the project at $7.5 million in an effort to entice a "yes" vote from Fleming failed, council voted 4-3 not to approve the design subcontract for final design of the project.

The project, more than a decade in the making, has been met with and and opposition from and some members of Troy City Council, including Troy Mayor Janice Daniels.

Before council voted, around 40 individuals made public comment about the transit center.

Planning Commissioner Michael Hutson spoke on behalf of the commission, which unanimously supports the project, saying: "We believe it is good for the City of Troy; it's good for the region."

"This is not the project for Troy," said Minesh Baxi, who opposes the transit center.

"We’ve all got to take a careful look at what we plan to do with money we do not have," Troy resident Duane Lamers said. "At this time, I don’t think we need to put our local taxpayers at risk. ... I think we would do well to hold off on such a project for the time being.”

Michelle Elder, a Royal Oak resident who researched the Troy transit center project as a graduate student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said: “You have in your power to determine if Troy will be able to compete. … You, the city of Troy, have an amazing opportunity before you to invest in your future and attract companies and talent.”

“I just think it would be a terrible, terrible idea to give $8 million to another city," said , a student.

"This is not a good decision for Troy to jump into right now," said Troy resident Gordon Shepke. "We ought to be working together as Americans … not going around spending money future generations are going to have to pay for.”

Michele Hodges, director of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, stood flanked by more than two dozen Chamber board members, business owners and labor leaders who support the transit center as she commented.

"If Troy fails, they fail," Hodges said, referring to the business owners surrounding her.

Hodges was dismayed by the council's decision not to award a design contract Monday night, though she said, "We'll continue to march forward, to raise the bar."

Complete coverage of the transit center

Todd December 20, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Disappointing, but not unexpected considering the "leadership" we now have.
Cristian Teodoridis December 20, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Lucille, regardless of the transit center decision and its merit, I am trying to understand the math you used to come up with percentages that Mayor Daniels does not represent. Are you saying that all those 75% of registered voters (who thought it was beneath them to do their civic duty and vote) are all AGAINST the Mayor and the new council members elected in November? Because otherwise I simply can't see how you come up with the "87% of us". Of course it is nonsensical to consider those who didn't bother to vote in any calculations, but even if we do I very much doubt they would have voted unanimously one way or another.
Randy Husk December 20, 2011 at 11:24 PM
the letter from magna condemning the mayor and councilman fleming will be for sure cause enough for a recall when the time comes....It was the most ridiculous argument that either of them made....makes no sense to vote down something that is so clearly in the best interest of both the business community and the residents...political ideologies have no place in local government. Who actually spoke against the transit center...a tiny few who mostly said the same thing and have little or no idea what they are talking about....the voters did not elect her to stop the transit center...it was totally library driven
Marty Rosalik December 21, 2011 at 06:25 AM
How many other buisnesses will follow Magna?
David Gifford December 22, 2011 at 06:29 PM
I believe that each city should have a central bus terminal as a hub like they do in other cities. That may require more switching buses but shorter and more frequent routes. As far as the trains go, the Amtrak tracks between Ann Arbor and Pontiac should be converted into commuter rail / light rail with parking structures built near the tracks in industrial areas, not along main roads. This would move commuters more quickly and frequently north and south to work, shopping and entertainment. Perhaps demand might eventually push the tracks north to Great Lakes Crossing and south to Metro Airport. A frequent commuter rail would ease the strain on busy highways, parking in downtown areas and would enable parking spaces to be developed into more residnetial and retail space. There is concern over sharing the rails with freight trains: then add more tracks. Better to add rails in an existing train corridor than on our already congested roads.

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