Just when it seemed Kwame Kilpatrick was well on his way to carving out a lackluster legacy as Detroit’s first earringed mayor, the wishy-washy Congresswoman’s son has taken off his kid gloves and jumped directly into Metro Detroit’s mass-transit fray.

Paul Wong
John Honkala

According to last week’s Metro Times, Kilpatrick is championing a new state-of-the-art $45 million public transit center to be located in Detroit’s Times Square. And fear not ye pessimists, this ain’t just for the People Mover; the center would be designed to accommodate light rail and Kilpatrick intends to utilize it, feet-dragging suburbs be damned.

Kilpatrick’s proposal comes just in time for transit boosters, whose only action this year has been to follow the Detroit Area Regional Transit Authority bill’s stilted path through the Michigan legislature where it has been left for dead by petty House Republicans upset that the Chamber of Commerce threw their weight behind Jennifer Granholm in the governor’s race.

DARTA, which would essentially bring Detroit’s and the suburbs’ busing systems under one regional authority, was emasculated long before the election, though, and it wasn’t just because of Republicans. Nay, the DARTA bill languished in committee purgatory all summer because a good number of suburban politicians believe their car-driving constituents won’t benefit from more efficient and comprehensive mass transit.

Metro Detroit politicians are bull-headed and myopic by nature, but their resistance to mass transit begs a million more pointed metaphors that I will not subject you to. (Think bats if you must.) The laundry list of mass-transit beneficiaries includes the environment, commuters, the poor, teenagers, etc., and it’s central to the creation of a truly sustainable region.

Imagine, for a moment, University students hopping on a train to catch a show at the State Theater and dinner at the Cass Caf

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