Mayor threatens mass layoffs over tunnel

June 18, 2008 at 1:46 PM

DETROIT, June 18 (UPI) -- Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is threatening layoffs of up to 1,300 workers if City Council members don't agree to sell the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

The ominous message came during a Tuesday meeting with council staffers and fiscal analysts delivered by Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams, the Detroit News reported Wednesday.

"This transaction is critical if the city wants to balance its budget in the worst financial times facing the city and the state since the Great Depression," he said, reiterating the mayor's opposition to the City Council plans to borrow funds to fix the city's $3.1 billion budget. The sale of the tunnel would be expected to provide about $65 million.

But Council President Kenneth V. Cockriel Jr. questioned the timing of Kilpatrick, who is facing potential removal from office related to perjury charges and other impacts from a police whistleblower lawsuit.

"This deal has been on the table for some time now when we decided not to act," Cockriel said. "What's been the dramatic change in our city's financial situation now? It makes me wonder if this isn't politically motivated."

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