SEMCOG votes to shift funding for DDOT, SMART buses

Vote changes federal funding formula for DDOT, SMART bus


DETROIT – Despite a passionate plea Friday from the mayor of Detroit, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments has voted to go ahead with a shift in millions of dollars from the Detroit Department of Transportation to the SMART bus system.

For decades, DDOT was given a 65-35 share of federal funding over SMART.

But SEMCOG's 22-9 vote means DDOT will now get 48.5 percent of the federal money and SMART will get 51.5 percent.

The change means $7 million will be lost from DDOT.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing spoke before SEMCOG, explaining it's not a good time to be taking more money away from the city.

"We've been limping along for years and years. As we start to build some possible momentum in the city, I think the worst thing that can happen and the timing of this, I think, starts to separate us and I don't want to see that happen," he said.

SEMCOG Chairman Paul Tait said it was meant in fairness and it was thrust upon them to come up with a solution.

"If we didn't have a formula to be used,we couldn't apply for the federal money for anybody, Detroit or SMART," he said. "We were between a rock and a hard place on this. We had to act."