Gov. Rick Snyder: Detroit government ‘last major obstacle’ to city’s growth

Michigan Gov. RickSnyder addresses reporters during a news conference Friday, July 19, 2013 in Detroit. Seven governors came and went during the decades-long decay of Michigan's largest city that culminated with a humiliating collapse into financial ruin. It's the eighth, former business executive and relative political novice Snyder, who is aggressively tying his legacy to the prospects of a Detroit turnaround. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder addresses reporters during a news conference Friday, July 19, 2013 in Detroit. Seven governors came and went during the decades-long decay of Michigan's largest city that culminated with a humiliating collapse into financial ruin. It's the eighth, former business executive and relative political novice Snyder, who is aggressively tying his legacy to the prospects of a Detroit turnaround. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Sunday defended the decision to allow Detroit to file for bankruptcy and said the city's government remains the "last major obstacle" to improvement.

"This has been kicking the can down the road for 60 years," Snyder said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "My perspective on that: Enough is enough. I think there needs to be more accountability in government."

Snyder had said in 2011 that he did not consider bankruptcy an option for the financially-strapped Motor City. But he said Sunday that the city and the state had run out of options in trying to avoid that scenario.

"I believe it’s the right thing to do now, because the focus needs to be dealing with this debt question, but even more importantly, the citizens of Detroit deserve better services.”

With its financial troubles, Detroit has experienced a long list of service issues, including 9-1-1 response times that run longer than 50 minutes and 40 percent of its street lights not functioning. Snyder said the bankruptcy option gives the city its best chance to end the decline.

"This is an opportunity to stabilize Detroit," the governor said. "Even more importantly longer term, I’m very bullish about the growth opportunities of Detroit."

As proof that the city holds promise, Snyder noted that Detroit has seen growth in its private sector and that young people are moving to the city.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · July 21, 2013