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E-M:/ MDOT Freight Proposal Criticized

> MDOT Proposal Designed For Failure
> Expert Tells Detroit City Council Freight Terminal Would Pollute, 
>  Create "Sweatshops On Wheels."
> A freight transportation expert Thursday told Detroit City Council members
> that a mega-terminal proposed for southwest Detroit is destined to fail,
> causing increased pollution and massive traffic congestion while creating
> low-wage jobs he described as "sweatshops on wheels."
> Dr. Michael H. Belzer, a Wayne State University professor and
> transportation expert, said Detroit could become a focal point for freight
> transportation because it is located at the center of North American
> trade. But the proposed 850-acre Detroit Intermodel Freight Terminal
> (DIFT) is designed to fail, he said, because it would erode the quality of
> life for area residents and not create good jobs.
> Belzer said automakers transfer freight directly through suppliers and
> would not use the DIFT.  A shortage of distribution centers in Detroit
> would keep other haulers from using the centralized freight terminal, he
> said.
> Meanwhile, Belzer said, the concentration of truck traffic in the DIFT
> area would clog I-94 and much of the central city with slow-moving and
> idling trucks hauling large containers.  In Long Beach, California, where
> a similar centralized freight terminal was constructed, traffic on the
> Long Beach Freeway is projected to slow to 17 mph during peak hours
> because of the congestion, he said. 
> "This DIFT is a narrow business model," Belzer told the council.  "Detroit
> will not become a hub for freight but a dumping ground."
> Belzer appeared at the invitation of Communities for Better Rail
> Alternatives (CBRA), a local grassroots group that is fighting the
> $18-million proposal from the Michigan Department of Transportation.  MDOT
> projects an additional 16,000 trucks would be added to the streets and
> highways of southwest Detroit and east Dearborn once the DIFT is
> operating.
> CBRA has proposed an alternative plan that would restrict development to
> the 500-acre railroad yard presently located in southwest Detroit.  "We
> are being asked by MDOT to sacrifice the quality of life in our
> communities for a boondoggle project," said Karen Kavanaugh, CBRA
> representative. "Our community has worked too hard and come too far to let
> this happen."
More information:
Karen Kavanaugh
313-842-0986 ext.26

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