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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

Genny M December 20, 2011 at 05:22 AM
Very disappointed!
Ron Dwyer December 20, 2011 at 05:44 AM
I want to Thank the Troy City Council and our Mayor for making the right choice and voting to end the Transit Center project. The stats show that it was going to be a boondoggle for Troy. There was not going to be any light rail going to Detroit (Detroit backed out of building light rail in their city last week), SMART is cutting down on their routes due to lack of ridership, and AmTrak was not a...dding any additional rail service. The transportation system would not be self sustaining. It would have also been a magnet for crime. The council made the right choice. Now lets focus on making Troy more friendly towards business. More business means Troy will generate the funds to keep and improve our fire, police, library and other public services.
donna beauregard December 20, 2011 at 06:41 AM
What suggestions do you have for making Troy more friendly to business? The city council just rejected a plan to invest in the community that had broad support in the business community. They know the needs of their businesses, customers, and employees and felt an improved transit center would help their bottom line and promote growth. Instead, we have a city council dominated by idealogues who wanted to make a strictly symbolic vote against taking federal stimulus funds that will now go to another community rather than pay down the debt. Meanwhile, our property values continue to drop-33% in the last 5 years. Home sales are down 70% in the last year. Who wants to move to a suburb with an aging population that will not invest in itself? I wish I could move but I'm stuck here.
SM December 20, 2011 at 01:18 PM
I live in the complex immediately around the corner from the proposed center. I am shocked and upset about this vote. I lived in communities, both in the US and internationally, that have transit centers and used them all the time. People in Troy are ignorant and I'm embarrassed by this vote. I can speak to the crime in the immediate vicinity - NOT an issue. Transients? We see some already...there are some in the shopping area. Grand Sakwa's rep wasn't telling the truth and they know it. We already have a bus route immediately adjacent to the shopping area and I challenge their statement in the story. And by the way, Ron, Amtrak currently runs 3 trains a day.....with the lean-to they currently have as a 'station'. My home is now worth 150K and used to be $290K. Good luck with your pipe dream on making Troy more attractive to business....since I don't see you posing any alternatives. You won't be getting any more money out of me, that's for sure.
Jeff S. December 20, 2011 at 01:24 PM
Mr. Dwyer, what "stats" show that the transit center would have been a "boondoggle"? Are all train stations "boondoggles"? Like Donna asked, exactly what suggestions do you have for making Troy more business friendly?
Bob Cornwall December 20, 2011 at 01:33 PM
I have taken the train to Chicago several times -- and as the train moves along, it runs full. Because there is no parking at the Birmingham station we have gone to Royal Oak. This would have been a great opportunity. And as far as Amtrak having declining use, this last year had the highest ridership in history!!!
Rhonda Pliskow December 20, 2011 at 01:47 PM
This is so disappointing. We have children living in the Chicago area. One does not own a car. She is a professional with many obligations. All of her transportation is by train and bus. Public transportation is an affordable means to get where one must go. A Troy transit center would have been an asset to our Detroit metropolitan area.
Douglas Holmes December 20, 2011 at 01:51 PM
This is an absolute failure of leadership in the City of Troy which I can only hope will be well remembered come election time.
Erich Von Zipper December 20, 2011 at 02:19 PM
Troy leadership will have to change their city slogan to "the city of Yesterday- TOMORROW" . They are obviously living in a time machine that has gone back to the 1980s and is firmly stuck there. Drive around your city and take a good look. Do things look better or worse than they were 25 years ago? It's a good thing you have ordinances against residential For Sale signs or your neighborhoods would tell a tale of how bad things have gotten.
ljd December 20, 2011 at 02:43 PM
If the problem is parking then why don't we just bulid a large parking lot? Why does Troy need to build an $8million building? And you refer to this area as the Birmingham station......thought it was Troy? And speaking of Birmingham, I recently read that they pulled out of this project back in April, why? Therefore, I take it Troy would have built a transit station it would be for Birmingham to use??? Pretty smart on their part eh? Say this was built, what contribution would Birmingham partake on the future costs, yearly upkeep, etc...... Business not boombing in Troy is not because we have no transit building, it is called bad economy. Royal Oak has no transit building and that city has been growing in leaps and bounds in the past several years. My gosh, they now have the Arts beats and eats?!!! When I look at Troy,I think, where/what would I go there to vist or to hang at? And I see there is nothing...there is no downtown, no quaint Main Street to walk or visit shops etc.....Troy has dwelled on money for so long and businesses they forgot the people. I do not consider Somerset Mall downtown and a place to visit for the day with my family. I don't come to Troy because you have no transit building, I don't come there because ther is really nothing to do......that's the kind of business Troy needs to attract.......
Sue Martin December 20, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Linda, it is not a PROBLEM we dodged, it was an opportunity that was squandered. Royal Oak most CERTAINLY DOES have a transit center...I pass it every day to and from work. RO's city leaders have done many things to keep the city forward-moving and progressive. Troy's leaders -- four of them anyway -- showed last night that they are more concerned with moving their own political agendas and careers forward.
Linda December 20, 2011 at 03:58 PM
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it still baffles me that "supposedly" educated individuals stoop to levels of ignorance to get what they want, no matter what the cost to others.
Lucille Musser Arking December 20, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Mayor Daniels was voted in by about 14% of the registered voters in Troy . Each new council person by slightly less of the registered voters . It is very distrubing that only 25% of eligble voters even bothered to vote . Incidently that is a slight increase over most city council elections since the 1990's Whats even more disturbing is to hear Mayor Daniels repeatedly say she must represent those who voted for her. that makes me conclude that she does not in her mind represent 87% of us . Mayor Daniels when will you visit my house ? Never because you decided you do not respresent me . The next issue is that Councilman Tietz kept calling the question on the Transit center each time there was a discussion that may change votes . Troy residents wake up . You city will be ruined if you let such a small minority control who gets elected . Do you know what kind of people try to shut off discussions ? Look it up . They are not democratic republic minded people.
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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