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Snyder signs Detroit lighting, regional transit and other bills

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By Maurielle Lue
Fox 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- Governor Rick Snyder was in Detroit on Wednesday to sign several bills designed to jump start the city's future.  Mayor Dave Bing was also on hand for the bill signing ceremony, but not everyone's happy.

On the heels of the announcement that Dan Gilbert's company bought five more buildings in downtown Detroit to help rebuild the city, the governor came downtown with some big announcements of his own.  He signed some major legislation that will help the city of Detroit.  It was good news for the city, but the governor was met with protesters still angry over right-to-work.

Snyder signed a few crucial bills.  One was for the regional transit authority to help coordinate a mass transit system in Southeast Michigan.  Another was for an expansion for Eastern Market.

The Ilitch family was also present.  The governor signed a bill that will allow the Ilitches to tap into about 13 million taxpayer dollars to go towards their $650 million facility being built in downtown Detroit.

The most exciting was the bill that will help the Lighting Authority.  Right now, about 88,000 streetlights, roughly half of them, aren't working.  This development will turn the lights back on in the city of Detroit, although the mayor did warn it won't be overnight.

"You've got to change the whole grid system across the city, and that's going to take somewhere around three years as we're getting information from the professionals," he said.

"We have to grow the city of Detroit.  We have to get the stability.  We have to give better services to citizens and fundamentally get this on a trajectory of growth, and that's why today was so exciting.  We spend too much time, as the mayor said, on the negative," Snyder said.  "There are a lot of great things going on in the city.  There are a lot of great young people excited to be in the city, and let's make sure we're creating the best environment to keep that going."

Snyder also addressed the possibility of an emergency financial manager for the city.  He said right now a committee has been formed.  They are already reviewing the city's finances and will release a report sometime near the end of January.  The governor said that's when he'll take that information and hopefully be able to make a decision.

Question and Answer

MONICA GAYLE: What was the governor's reaction to all of the protesters who gathered there today?

LUE: The governor was asked if he regrets how quickly (right-to-work) was done, the fact that the people didn't have, really they felt, the right to speak on it.  And also the protesters outside, you could just... sense the anger.  Now that he got to watch a few reports on TV and see how angry people were, he was asked if he regretted that.  The governor said, 'No, I don't regret a single thing.'  He contended that this was meant to help Michigan and that right-to-work will only make the union stronger.

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