Reporting Vickie Thomas
DETROIT (WWJ) – Light rail has been talked about for years in Detroit, but Wednesday afternoon the issue goes before the City Council.
Detroit’s CFO and Director of the Woodward Light Rail project, Norm White, will be quizzed by council members at their meeting Wednesday. One question he’s sure to face: will the project guarantee jobs for Detroiters.
WWJ’s City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas was able to get his answer ahead of time.
“With a federal program, you can’t necessarily guarantee jobs because federal money has certain regulations associated with it,” White said.
There have been reports that investors are not 100 percent satisfied with the city’s $528 million light rail project, and some who have contributed funds up to $100 million may be taking their money off the table. But, Rip Rapson, President of the Kresge Foundation, said he believes the project will be moving forward.
“It’s not whether it will get done, it’s how will it get done in the interest of the broader region. And so what we’re having conversations about now is what kind of mechanism do you put together to run it, to fund it, to make sure it connects to the broader Southeast Michigan region transit system, and we’ll work that out. So, absolutely we will get this done,” Rapson said.
Rapson and other members of the Kresge Foundation, which donated $35 million toward the project, think city administrators have been relatively reasonable about the project.
“I don’t mean to be political, but I think Mayor Bing has been extraordinarily ethical, I think he’s been very straight about what he wants to accomplish, very clear about what he wants to accomplish, and he’s really welcomed resources to line up behind him and that’s, I think, a very strong, active leadership so I’m delighted he’s there,” Rapson said.
Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.