Friday, November 30, 2012

Rosa Parks Arrest Vigil and DDOT update

Saturday, December 1 at 3 pm a candle light vigil will be held at the Rosa Parks Transit Center. The event commemorates 57 years since Rosa Parks was arrested for failing to sacrifice her seat on a Birmingham Alabama bus to a white passenger. We need to bring awareness up of the history to present of the fight for Human Rights.

The 2nd floor lobby will have the vigil and recognition, awareness on the street at the transit center needs to be increased. This isn't a time for peaceful recognition of a key moment in the struggle. It is time to show there is still progress to be made.

DDOT Update

Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) has been routinely discussed as a public service that Mayor Bing's administration believes should be privatized. The people spoke up at the November 19 and 20 City Council sessions. We questioned the wisdom of entering into five contracts spanning five years for $58 million to provide "engineering services" which morphed into management services last year through closed door meetings of the Mayor's administration and a turnaround team.

The vote on November 20 turned down the contracts and requested an emergency interim contract be drawn not to exceed nine months for critical engineering services. This leaves DDOT without a senior management team as the Envisurage/TransPro contract fizzles out today, November 30. An audit of service provided by the contracting firm needs to be conducted by the Auditor General prior to payment of bonuses that are part of the contract.

"Reform Agenda" To Remove Detroit Department of Transportation

Can we shake free of the "Reform Agenda" put forth through the Financial Stability Agreement. Since Public Act 4 and 72 were repealed November 6 this agreement and operations under its guise need to be halted. In the plans according to the September 2012 Financial Advisory Board meeting:
  • Create a new governance model by January 2013 to overcome challenges such as:
    • Collective bargaining agreements
    • Civil service bumping rights
    • Financial information systems
    • Divided responsibility and authority
  • Timeline of outsourcing operations and management
    • Feb 2013 - Release of RFP
    • Mar 2013 - Formation of new authority
    • Jul 2013 - Outsource management vendor selected
    • Sep 2013 - New authority board approves selected vendor
    • Jan 2014 - New vendor begins management of DDOT
These plans would remove public transportation and replace it with privatized public service. Do you believe the public will be better served by a private entity? What manner of public discourse will they be required to have?

The next Financial Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for December 10, 2012 starting 2:00 pm at McGregor Conference Center on Wayne State University Ferry Mall, across from the Law Library. The State of Michigan needs to stop holding meetings and advancing an agenda that is not supported by law. Likewise City of Detroit administration (Mayor Bing, et al) need to step forward and assume responsibility to provide service to protect the people as their oath of office requires.

State & Region Transportation Update

November 27 the State Senate passed legislation (SB909, SB911, SB967) to create a regional transportation authority for South East Michigan. Additionally SB912 was passed regarding zoning of land for use by the regional transportation authority. The pressure was on from the Federal Transportation Authority as US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has promised $25 million for construction of the M-1 Light Rail project provided a regional transportation authority was created.

These bills are to be discussed at the State Transportation Committee meeting on December 5, 2012 at 10:30 am in Room 307 of the House Office Building in Lansing. Once approved through the House the bills would go to Governor Snyder for approval into law.

Troy Transit Center Underway

The Troy Transit Center (partially in Birmingham as well) began ground breaking on Tuesday November 28. Opposition was from the now-recalled former Mayor Janice Daniels. 

The 28,000 sq-ft center replaces an old Amtrak station on a 2.4-acre site at Maple Road and Coolidge Highway.

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