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White House offers over $300 mn for bankrupt Detroit

The White House offered more than $300 million in aid and support to bankrupt Detroit on Friday, as the crumbling, bankrupt Midwestern city struggles to survive.

The aid includes nearly $150 million in public and private funds to help the former US auto manufacturing hub tear down blighted properties and revitalize neighborhoods hard hit by the hollowing of the Detroit economy.

It also includes $30 million in support for police, firefighters and other public safety programs, addressing the breakdown in policing the city after the city government has had to cut back staffing.

“The Obama administration is dedicated to ensuring that the federal government remains an active partner in bringing jobs back into the City, and turning the people of Detroit?s vision of the future into a reality,” the White House said in a statement.

Some $140 million are due to be deployed to improve the poorly maintained transportation systems for residents of the city and region.

The city filed for bankruptcy in July, saddled with $18 billion in debt and a tax base depleted by decades of population loss and urban blight.

It was the largest US city to declare bankruptcy, and the move set off shockwaves even though decades of fiscal mismanagement had made it foreseeable.

The city’s emergency worker force has been trimmed, streetlights are out or turned off to save power, and some 78,000 buildings and structures are vacant, giving rise to recent reports of thousands of stray dogs menacing the city.

Detroit has seen its population shrink by more than half, from 1.8 million people in 1950 to 700,000 today, with a high level of unemployment estimated at about 16 percent.

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