WASHINGTON, Sept 26 The White House will send a
group of top officials to Detroit on Friday to offer millions in
assistance for knocking down empty buildings, hiring
firefighters and adding buses to the city fleet, as the city
struggles after filing for bankruptcy.
The federal aid has been tapped from a variety of existing
programs and is part of a patchwork of grants complementing
investments by the city, state and private foundations.
"We're going to continue to support the efforts under way in
Detroit and ensure the federal government is an active partner
in supporting the revitalization of the city," said Gene
Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council,
who has led federal discussions with Detroit on how best to
Sperling and cabinet officials will discuss the plan at a
meeting with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave
Bing, the city's emergency manager Kevyn Orr, members of the
Michigan congressional delegation and other leaders.
"This effort is about lifting up Detroit, and committing to
a shared, long-term investment that will enable the businesses
and residents in Detroit to expand opportunity and renew this
world-class city," Sperling said in a statement.
Attorney General Eric Holder, Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Transportation Secretary Anthony
Foxx will be at the meeting.
The plan includes about $150 million to tear down
dilapidated properties and revitalize blighted neighborhoods.
Some of those funds will come from the federal government, with
other funds coming from the city, state, businesses and the
Ford, Kresge and Skillman foundations.
The federal government also will pledge $25 million to hire
150 firefighters, and provide more than $100 million in transit
grants for buses, a streetcar project, and a bus rapid transit
system, the White House said.
The White House has said since July 18, when the city filed
for bankruptcy, that it would try to find ways to help Detroit,
while making it clear that a bail-out was not an option.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Ken Wills)