Peters: Keep rejected transit aid in metro Detroit

From The Chicago Tribune:

Michigan U.S. Rep. Gary Peters on Tuesday asked that the federal government redirect $8.4 million in transportation aid spurned by the Troy City Council to other projects in the Detroit area.

The request came in letters to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Gov. Rick Snyder from the Bloomfield Township Democrat.

The council voted 4-3 on Monday to reject a proposed transportation center, in the works for a decade. Neighboring Birmingham quit the project this year.

Project supporters said the center would have been key to improving mass transportation in the region.

“The transit center would have provided access to new high speed Amtrak rail along the Wolverine Corridor, as well as transfer points to SMART bus services, taxi and sedan connections, and connectivity options for patrons of the Oakland/Troy Airport,” Peters wrote to LaHood.

Mayor Janice Daniels said she and some City Council members made election pledges to block the transit center, which opponents said was a waste of tax dollars.

“The council was turned over to new council members and a new mayor because we campaigned on a pledge to stop this transit center,” Daniels said at Monday’s council meeting.

Peters said it was a shortsighted, tea party-inspired decision that hurts small businesses in Troy.

“While I am deeply disappointed,” Peters wrote LaHood, “I know that there are many cities in southeast Michigan that support regional transit and want to see it succeed,” among them Royal Oak.