White House to Free Up to $300M to Aid Detroit

The White House will announce today nearly $300 million in new, repurposed and freed-up grants from the Obama administration and private foundations to help the ailing Motor City.
September 27, 2013
 

The White House will announce today nearly $300 million in new, repurposed and freed-up grants from the Obama administration and private foundations to help the ailing Motor City.

Much of the money had been awarded in previous years, but the administration is speeding delivery of the funds. Millions were delayed due to red tape, mismanagement from the city or other problems, officials said.

White House National Economic Council director Gene Sperling briefed reporters on the announcement Thursday, ahead of today’s meeting in Detroit at Wayne State University between Obama administration officials and state and local leaders.

The meeting will include U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, along with Gov. Rick Snyder, Mayor Dave Bing, Detroit community leaders and members of Michigan’s congressional delegation, some of whom may not be able to attend because of the federal budget impasse.

“You have nearly $300 million in resources that are being expedited, pledged, re-purposed for the economic development and revitalization of Detroit,” Sperling told reporters, adding the funds are the product of two months of work and meetings of the Obama administration and with private foundations. “This is an ongoing effort. We are going to stay at it.”

The funds include more than $100 million for “effective, coordinated demolition of blighted properties, neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment in Detroit,” according to a White House fact sheet.

The Transportation Department is speeding deployment of nearly $140 million in federal funds for improving transit that had been awarded but not yet handed out. Another $30 million in grants for public safety also will be announced.

That includes $3 million in Justice Department funds for hiring new police officers, establishing a bike patrol, supporting prisoner re-entry programs and supporting youth anti-violence programs. The government also will give expedited access to $25 million in FEMA funding that will enable the hiring of 150 firefighters and purchasing of equipment to prevent and detect arson.

The Transportation Department funds will ensure access to $100 million in transit grants, including immediately releasing $24 million to repair and rehabilitate buses and to install security cameras to protect passengers and drivers. The department also will formally unlock a $25 million TIGER grant, reaffirming its commitment to the M1 RAIL/Woodward Avenue streetcar project; and provide $6.4 million to the newly created Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to help implement a regional bus rapid transit system.

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