What a blow to Hamtramck and the metro region.
This week, the folks at the SMART bus service announced a massive cut in services and the laying off of 123 employees, all because of a multi-million dollar budget deficit.
Hamtramck’s shuttle service is also included in the cuts, but at least there is a ray of hope that the city can cobble together a shuttle service in the next several weeks.
Restoring the service in Hamtramck is crucial for the city to attract young professionals to move here. And it is also crucial to many seniors here who rely on the shuttle for an inexpensive and efficient way to get around town and do their shopping.
There is still a plan in the works to actually expand Hamtramck’s shuttle service to the Wayne State University and midtown areas.
SMART’s cutback comes at a time when regional planners have been talking about the need to pump up public transit.
Gov. Rick Snyder recently urged young adults to stay in Michigan and not move to Chicago. Well, if public transportation continues to get axed, good luck with that.
Young people want to live in a city that has reliable public transportation. Detroit is far away from that goal.
This is a time when state and federal lawmakers have to step in and make funding available, not only to keep transportation up and running, but to also greatly expand it.
To do this will obviously require money. That’s a touchy subject during these days of conservative lawmakers clamoring to cut spending. While it may seem counterintuitive to start spending more money during hard financial times, look no further than the Great Depression of the 1930s to see what should be done.
Government spending during a financial recession or depression – whatever you want to call it – pumps money into the sagging economy and helps spur on recovery.
One of the key things this region needs is an improved transportation system.
Cutting public transportation is not smart, it’s dumb.