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Big dreams and boondoggles

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News Hits is by no means an expert on mass transit, but we do know this: Metro Detroit will not have a state-of-the-art public transportation system without your help. In the past year, grassroots groups, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and big business have been making noise about the need for mass transit. To make it a reality, the public needs to clamor for it. Here’s why you should take up the cause: It’s cheaper than building and repairing roads, prevents sprawl, creates less pollution and costs less than owning and maintaining a car. To learn more about how you can get involved, attend the March 21 meeting hosted by the League of Women Voters at 7 p.m. at 900 Cook Rd. in Grosse Pointe Woods. Karen Kendrick-Hands, president of Transportation Riders United, a grassroots group that supports mass transit, and Dave Rich, regional director for U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) will talk about how to overcome the biggest hurdles to public transportation: planning and funding. For more information call 313-822-8251.

P.S. Be sure to get your comments to the Michigan Department of Transportation regarding its plans to “improve” I-94 between Conner and I-96. The $1.3 billion boondoggle is supposed to ease congestion, but Kendrick-Hands says it will create more pollution along the seven mile-strip. The money, she contends, would be better spent on public transit. The project’s environmental impact study can be found at www.mdot.state.mi.us/i94rehab/. Comments can be sent to lopezjos@mdot.state.mi.us or call 517-373-9534. The comment period ends March 27.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or cguyette@metrotimes.com

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