Well, the Mayor of Troy and those pesky Tea Party types on the city council are taking a lot of heat for not jumping like addicts at a crack house for $8.4 million in federal money for a transit center. Oh, the foolishness! After all, its free government money, isn’t it?
There is no argument or doubt that some benefit would be achieved from having a public transportation plan, but will the final costs justify the benefits? And who picks up the tab if the numbers don’t quite live up to expectations? More importantly, who will benefit the most?
So the “projected” stats for the number of people who would actually use this system is anywhere from 19,000 riders to a potential 51,000, and theoretically this project would bring $53 million a year in revenue. Really? All this in a region notorious for not having any public transportation to speak of for all these years? You have to wonder if people are going to give up their autos – especially in this town. Based on other government sponsored/funded projects, what are the odds that the project will be a) completed on time, and most importantly, b) guaranteed to be completed on budget? Just curious.
What is also puzzling is the incredibly passionate response of Frank W. Erwin III, manager of government affairs for Magna International Inc., who is so distraught over the city’s decision that he has vowed to not invest in Troy ever again. He is taking Magna’s marbles and going home, according to the public statement he made. The problem with his little outburst is that it was his opinion, and Tracy Fuerst, director of corporate communications for Magna, said the company is taking no position on the city’s decision. Another automotive supplier, Meritor, has also expressed disappointment.
Kinda makes you wonder why two automotive suppliers are so disappointed about a project for public transportation. Do you think that maybe they have the most to benefit from the plan? Would Mr. Erwin contribute any of Magna’s corporate funds if the project goes over budget? Would Meritor, or any of the other supporters? Pardon my cynicism, but you have to wonder what cozy, little behind-the-scenes agreements were also discussed between these big businesses and government. You would think that liberals would be up in arms to hear that some evil, greedy corporation is going to benefit from the backs of taxpayers – or at least the 53%’ers.
Where are those Occupy Wall Street types when you need them?