Detroit bets on uncertainty of rail, new arena

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Associated Press

Posted on October 26, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Updated Saturday, Oct 26 at 11:02 AM

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit may be too broke to pay its bills, but it's still thinking big.

As the debt-ridden city moves through bankruptcy proceedings, local and state leaders are backing plans to build a new hockey arena and streetcar line.

The developments would cost $800 million and bet at least $300 million in future tax revenues to attract people to a city that residents have been fleeing for 60 years.

Skeptics say the plans are risky for a city with so much debt that it can't fund services as simple as streetlights. Supporters predict the downtown improvements will expand the tax base and lay the path to a brighter financial future.

The efforts are focused downtown. Outside the city center are 130 square miles of neighborhoods with vacant homes and few prospects.

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