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$300 million offered to Detroit by federal officials

White House

A delegation of President Obama’s top advisors met in Detroit today, announcing $300 million in federal and private funding for the Motor City.

Most of that aid is earmarked: For instance, about $140 million devoted to public transportation, another $30 million reserved for crime reduction, and another $25 million for demolishing abandoned commercial buildings.

This is the first federal intervention in Detroit after the city filed for bankruptcy on July 18. But don’t call it a bailout — according to federal officials, the aid coming into the city came from galvanizing "public and private partners," and is not a full-fledged bailout of the city. Currently, Detroit owes more than $18 billion to its creditors. 

“Our message right from the beginning was: There is nothing we can do to help on the bankruptcy; there is no bailout,” said White House Economic Council director Gene B. Sperling, one of the officials who met today in Detroit. “However, we want to look at what could we do to help Detroit through existing resources and mobilization.”

The details of the plan were being worked out today at Wayne State University, as local officials met with Sperling, Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, and Secretary of Transportation Anthony R. Foxx.

The White House officials will also discuss ways the city can improve its financial track record, as Stateside reported yesterday:

One of the problems Detroit has had is getting grants -- not keeping within the requirements of the grant and having to send money back to Washington. Part of the meeting at Wayne State University is to help Detroit handle the grant money better and to take advantage of other money that might be available to help -- without crossing that line of being a bailout.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek covered the event and will have more for us later today.

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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