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Enviro-Mich message from Frank Ambrose <snakeman1549@yahoo.com>

As someone who lives in southwest detroit along one of
the proposed routes to the 840 acre site, I can say
that I would not wish the dift onto anyone. MDOT's new
"alternative" is only being put out there to get the
pressure off their back from the NIMBY groups and
people. Its the classic divide and conquer strategy.
We need to realize that this project cannot be put
into anyones back yard, even if it is cut up into
smaller chunks. The only alternative that we should
not immediately react in opposition to is one which
the DIFT is cancelled and the existing yards and
blights are cleaned up and made into a park or some
other community enriching space. There really is no
reason even to study it if it still proposes container
yards and truck traffic.

The people that will be benefiting from the DIFT will
never live anywhere within the city of Detroit, or
even Ferndale, at best they will be in Birmingham or
Bloomfield, but probably be in Dallas, Los Angeles, or
London. In fact, the current railyard they want to
"fix up" is owned by CSX railroad (none other than the
corporation that has been placed in charge of finances
by master Bush). The only reason for the DIFT is to
hasten the complete implementation of NAFTA and the
other free trade agreements. If you think NAFTA and
neoliberalism are bad for workers and the environment,
then you should oppose the DIFT as it is just NAFTA
put into action. 

Southwest Detroit, and most of detroit for that
matter, already has too many trucks and too much 
industry. What we need to do is get rid of them, not
limit it, or even keep it at its current level. We
cannot be afraid to ask for what we want, instead of
what we think we can get, otherwise we will end up
with neither.


--- David Holtz <david.holtz@sierraclub.org> wrote:
> More Information:
> Wednesday, December 18, 2002
> Kathryn Savoie
> 313-216-2225
> MDOT Unveils New Freight Hauling Proposal
> Ferndale, Detroit Sites Added To Federal Intermodal
> Study
> Community leaders today reacted cautiously to a new
> proposal unveiled by
> state transportation officials on Tuesday which
> would redevelop four
> rail and freight sites in Detroit and Ferndale as
> part of a new regional
> intermodal freight system.  
> Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)
> officials disclosed the new
> plan during a meeting of local advisors in southwest
> Detroit where
> residents are fighting the agency's controversial
> proposal to build an
> 840-acre Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT)
> within a largely
> residential area.  
> "We hope this new proposal will get careful study,
> including from
> residents and businesses in northwest Detroit, north
> central Detroit,
> and Ferndale that would be affected," said Kathryn
> Savoie, co-chair of
> Communities for a Better Rail Alternative.  "One of
> the questions this
> raises is whether this new proposal is simply a
> straw man intended to
> make the DIFT more favorable by comparison or if
> it's a plan residents
> will be able to live with.  We look forward to
> seeing more details of
> MDOT's new proposal."
> MDOT, under pressure from local groups and
> environmentalists who said
> limiting the $18 million federal freight study to a
> single proposal
> favored by the agency was illegal, released few
> details of its latest
> proposal, except to identify where the additional
> sites to be studied
> are located.  MDOT's new proposal would spread
> intermodal operations out
> among four rail and freight sites in Detroit,
> including Junction Yard in
> southwest Detroit, and another along 8 Mile Road
> near I-75  in Ferndale.
> Rail sites near Michigan Central Depot in Corktown
> and near I-96 and the
> Southfield Freeway in Detroit are also included in
> the proposal the
> agency has designated Alternative #2.    
> The combined four rail and freight sites in
> Alternative #2 will be
> studied as a single project and evaluated against
> the impacts of
> building the entire 840-acre DIFT in southwest
> Detroit, MDOT said.  As a
> result of the addition of Alternative #2 for study,
> MDOT said a decision
> on any proposed intermodal system might not come for
> another two years. 
> The proposed DIFT in southwest Detroit would result
> in the condemnation
> of 72 businesses and 80 homes and bring in an
> additional 16,000 more
> diesel trucks a day into local neighborhoods.  
> Environmentalists say
> exhaust from the trucks will cause already high
> rates of asthma,
> particularly among children, to increase.  
> #30#
> sent by:
> David Holtz, Media Coordinator, Sierra Club
> 313-965-0055

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