Fed, state, local officials to discuss ways to aid Detroit

Sept. 27, 2013 at 8:25 AM

DETROIT, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Obama administration officials visit Detroit Friday to discuss ways to wipe out blight, improve transit and safety, and enhance the beleaguered city's appeal.

The White House is to announce a $300 million aid package to help troubled Motown accomplish these goals during a summit of administration officials and Detroit city leaders, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The package is expected to include $150 million in blight eradication and community redevelopment, $100 million in federal transit grants, $10 million in affordable housing funds and $25 million to hire firefighters and buy firefighting equipment.

Gene Sperling, the head of President Barack Obama's National Economic Council, said Friday's summit at Wayne State University is "the first of many efforts that the administration will engage in with the city of Detroit."

"We've found significant resources that we believe can be unlocked and expedited and leveraged to have significant impact on the economy of Detroit," Sperling told reporters Thursday.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and emergency manager Kevyn Orr -- who on Detroit's behalf filed the largest municipal bankruptcy ever in July -- will participate in the discussions with Sperling, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Attorney General Eric Holder, the Free Press said.

Also expected to attend are representatives of local foundations and business leaders. Members of Michigan's congressional delegation were expected to attend if they could break away as a federal shutdown looms.

"If we're not there we'll teleconference," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said. "I think what is really important is there is an ongoing commitment from the administration."

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