John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The city council went ahead and voted to accept millions in federal money Tuesday, despite the mayor's objections
Over the protests of its own mayor, the city of Troy, Mich., has voted to accept millions in federal money to build a revamped transit center.
The measure passed 4 to 3 on Tuesday evening after Troy councilmember and glowing-orange man Wade Fleming cast the crucial vote in support of the oddly controversial multimodal transit facility. Fleming had voted against the project in December, but backed a revised proposal that cut the amount of free, no-strings-attached cash from $8.4 to $6.3 million.
The vote all but assures that the city will lose its current transit “center,” a bleak concrete platform accessible only by Amtrak trains and whoever can snag one of its four parking spaces. The new facility, set to open in 2013, will feature 116 parking spots, bus and taxi access, snack options and would be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It will also connect Troy to Chicago.
Mayor Janice Daniels had campaigned last year against these upgrades, which will be 100 percent paid for under the U.S. government’s 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (Troy is responsible for covering about $31,000 a year in operating costs.) On Tuesday, she expressed disgust over this giant, golden handout, telling Click on Detroit, “As a nation, we are drowning in debt and I just think it's more important that we recover from this position we've found ourselves in.”
Still, Daniels agreed to go along with the council’s vote, ensuring that online news sites will be seething with raging commenters for months to come – like “Jay,” who writes: “So much for their 'Small Government.’ Hypocrites.”