Orr has said Detroit is so poor that it can’t afford to lose out on any resources. In July, he made Detroit the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection.
Grants only can pay for things the city otherwise couldn’t afford. Several businesses even pitched in $8 million earlier this year to help pay for a new fleet of emergency vehicles, including 23 EMS units and 100 police cars, to boost public safety and reduce response times.
Police Chief James Craig said Thursday that he was in Washington a few weeks ago in search of federal resources for his department.
“Our work together is critical in achieving our goals of making Detroit a safe city and providing the necessary resources in raising the morale of our most valuable asset, our people,” Craig said.
The Obama administration is trying to show its support without trying to send any message about a bailout, said Peter Henning, a Wayne State Law School professor.
Officials, especially those from HUD and Transportation, can commit funds for infrastructure projects, while Holder can chip in resources to fight Detroit’s high violent crime rate, Henning said.
“So these are back door ways to provide federal funding and support without having to seek a bailout, which would be dead on arrival from both parties,” he said. “The goal is to strengthen Detroit, but only indirectly. This is at best a muted commitment because what Detroit really needs is dollars and not just support that might be beneficial in three to five years. But any hope of that is a pipe dream.”