Several businesses have pledged a total $8 million to help cash-strapped Detroit pay for a new fleet of emergency vehicles including 23 EMS units and 100 police cars to boost public safety and reduce response times, Mayor Dave Bing announced Monday.
Donor and racing team owner Roger Penske, who leads Penske Automotive Group, joined Bing in announcing the funding boost in a news conference at Detroit City Hall. Donors include Penske Corp., Quicken Loans Inc., General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
“Working together we can transform our city,” Bing said.
The announcement came on the same day bankruptcy attorney and turnaround specialist Kevyn Orr began his first day on the job as Detroit’s emergency manager. Orr has taken over the finances of the largest city in the country to come under state oversight.
According to Bing, the timing of the announcement was a coincidence.
Under the effort, the first new police vehicles are to arrive within two to three months and the EMS units are due to arrive within about four or five months. The donations will replace the entire fleet of the Detroit Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services Division.
“We can work together and drive positive momentum in our city,” Penske said.
The announcement was welcomed by the Detroit Fire Department and the Detroit Police Department, which both have aging vehicle fleets.
“After years of challenges with aging EMS units that rotate in and out of service, a brand new fleet of ambulances will allow us to provide a higher level of emergency services to Detroit’s citizens,” Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said in a statement.
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