I find it totally unsurprising that US Rep. Carolyn "Cheeks" Kilpatrick -- yes, of those Kilpatricks
-- simultaneously 1.) Discredits any kind of effort at regionalism, 2.) Undermines commuter rail, and 3.) Refuses to buck the Obama Administration when it comes up with a fairly bad idea which will damage her constituency.
The Kilpatrick clan derives its power from pitting Detroit's 80+-percent black population against its majority-white neighbors in the suburbs
, and this fact prevents nearly all forward movement toward improving the lives of Detroiters. Big Auto may be down but it isn't out, and it still runs Bartertown, and we don't want no transportation alternatives to passenger cars on our crumbling, overbuilt highway system. And Cheeks is no fool when it comes to smelling which way the power is trending, an especially handy trait when your husband and son are going up on charges of allegedly selling the public's trust for a sack of magic beans and cab fare.
Crains Detroit | Switching tracks: Kilpatrick backs high-speed rail over commuter
By Bill Shea
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick is warning that she is shifting her support from commuter rail projects in Michigan, such as a proposed Ann Arbor-Detroit route, to the high-speed rail projects favored by the Obama administration.
Kilpatrick made the shift public in recent comments to the Detroit City Council and in a letter she wrote last week after questions arose about comments critical of the region's transportation planning agency and a letter it sent her defending its performance.
The Detroit-based Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, which acts as the required agency to program federal transit dollars for the region, faxed a letter to Kilpatrick on Feb. 26 saying it takes “great exception” to what the organization says are “disparaging and inaccurate comments.”
Kilpatrick, a Detroit Democrat who is campaigning for an eighth term in Michigan's 13th District, earmarked $100 million for the rail project in 2005 and $6.5 million since then. Her support is seen as important because she sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on transportation, housing and urban development.
Kilpatrick told the Detroit City Council on Feb. 12 that “I'm sad to say SEMCOG ... has not done a good job with the $100 million. We should be much further than we are with that commuter rail. So I'm here to report to you because we have a new president who believes highly in high-speed rail, all of my efforts are going to high-speed rail instead of commuter rail.”
In a March 2 letter to Crain's, written in response to questions about the SEMCOG letter, she tempered her vow — at least in the case of the Ann Arbor-Detroit line.
“While I will continue to fight for this project, I have publicly stated my preference that Michigan begin the move toward high-speed rail, which is also President Barack Obama's preference,” she wrote.