Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jeff Wattrick has the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on the Troy Transit center

In New beginnings for two Metro Detroit transit projects, I made this prediction about the Troy Transit Center:
[I]t seems that it might pass by one vote. That would be enough.
Sure enough, that happened, as Jeff Wattrick of MLive reported.

Troy City Council passes revised transit center plan by 4-3 vote

Sure enough, the revised plan passed by one vote. The deciding vote both times was Council member Fleming, who voted against the original $8 million plan but voted for the revised $6 million version. As for the operating costs, Wattrick reported that the Chamber of Commerce will put together a plan to cover the station's $31,000 annual operating costs.

As for the bad, Troy City Council may increase transit center's operating cost per square foot to symbolically 'cut' federal spending. That occurred, in part, because the geothermal heating plant originally proposed for the site was replaced by a standard gas furnace. I really don't like this decision, and I'll probably have more to say about it later.

Finally, the ugly. Democracy's Earthy Aromas: Troy transit vote sparks colorful council public comment session. Wattrick had the following to say about the aftermath.
Troy's City Council approved the transit center plan Tuesday night. Public comment immediately following that vote, and boy howdy, you simply cannot beat municipal government public comment sessions for cheap thrills and unintentional comedy.

Quite naturally, I had the old digital recorder rolling to preserve in magical ones and zeros every explanation of how public transit was a Chinese plot to take our jobs, a UN Project 21 conspiracy to destroy America’s sovereignty, and the machinations of a shadowy cabal led by Rip Rapson, the dark overlord of the Kresge Foundation. All those things were said, but last night's public comment was so fantastic, none of them made the greatest hits album.
I highly recommend you read this article. It's local political comedy at its best.

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