Freight this

Finally, a voice of reason on the insane proposal to bring thousands of trucks and more train traffic to burgeoning and revitalizing Southwest Detroit. Last week, the city Planning Commission unanimously opposed the Michigan Department of Transportation plan. The commission voted after city planners released a 17-page report detailing environmental, social, cultural and financial downsides of the MDOT’s plan. Basically, it would more than double the size of the Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal, where trucks and trains exchange cargo. The city report states that 74 homes and 78 businesses in the Mexicantown/Corktown area would have to relocate; the city would lose tax income; no new jobs would be created; and an area with as much as 20 percent population growth in the last decade would be devastated. Further, Southwest Detroit would suffer additional air and noise pollution from the nearly 16,000 trucks daily that would traverse the area under the plan. City Council will vote on the matter next week, said Planning Director Marsha Bruhn. Should council and the mayor oppose the plan, it will likely fizzle because it relies on federal highway dollars that require local support, Bruhn said. The mayor hasn’t stated his position on the plan. If you want to save Southwest Detroit from this industrial disaster, call your favorite City Council member or the mayor’s office. Meanwhile, state Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit, said he plans to propose an amendment to the state budget this week to ban MDOT from making any physical improvements related to the freight terminal until a state environmental impact study is completed in 2003. The amendment is needed because rumors abound that changes already are occurring, Clarke said. “Who wants all these trucks going down people’s streets and through these wonderful neighborhoods?” asked an indignant Clarke. News Hits has the same questions.

Lisa M. Collins is a Metro Times staff writer. E-mail [email protected]