A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

While the city of Flint is looking at a $17 million deficit by the end of this fiscal year, about two miles down the road, Robert Foy faces a completely different financial picture.

The head of the Flint's Mass Transportation Authority has received about $10 million from the federal stimulus program and said he has another $10 million for projects he's applied for and hopes to get funding for. Foy's total budget is about $40 million a year.

Perhaps no other city in the state better highlights how transit was a big winner in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Foy said all he's waiting for is the paperwork to be finalized and his station will receive two $1.1 million buses which will be fully electric with zero emissions.

Beth Bingham, director of the Michigan Economic Recovery Office, wrote in an e-mail that the electric buses will save Flint money on diesel fuel costs. Bingham also wrote that the purpose of the grants is to reduce greenhouse gas emission and energy costs.

But Foy said there is more to the million-dollar buses than just improving the environment.

"A lot of our focus is on creating jobs," Foy said.

Foy said his fleets eventual transition from diesel to alternative energy will create "several hundred" permanent private sector jobs.

Click here to read more about Flint's transit stimulus funding.

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