A Call to Action After Detroit Suburbs Kill Regional Transportation Plan

A $4.7 billion regional transportation plan died at the hands of suburban interests around Detroit last week. An op-ed describes the action as the same kind of racial disharmony that defined the mid- and late-20 century.

1 minute read

August 3, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

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Jerry "Woody" / Flickr

"It's up to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and top leaders in four counties to see if they can salvage a $4.7 billion plan for expanded public transportation for the region after the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan board couldn't come up with the votes to put the proposal before voters," reports Matt Helms.

"The board on Thursday couldn't overcome objections from Macomb and Oakland counties," adds Helms.

Stephen Henderson followed up on the news about the fate of the regional transportation plan by calling out Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel for continuing a tradition of building literal and figurative walls between demographic groups in Southeast Michigan. Henderson writes that Patterson and Hackel's actions recall a different era of racial politics:

Their rank and disingenuous last-minute opposition to the funding proposal for basic, until-now mythical, regional transit is a call to keep building walls in southeast Michigan. Their assertion that what they’re doing is meant to protect citizens in Macomb and Oakland counties, respectively, is a cynical and erroneous dog whistle, meant to evoke the bad old days of rancor and antagonism in the region.

Henderson's op-ed includes responses to specific points from both Patterson and Hackel's opposition to the plan. Henderson implores his fellow citizens to insist on action from the region's political leadership.

Thursday, July 28, 2016 in Detroit Free Press

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