DIA: Free admission policy won't change for tri-county residents

DIA: Free admission policy won't change for tri-county residents

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(WJBK) -

Buzz of a controversial plan that would give the DIA more protection in Detroit's bankruptcy but cost tri-county residents their free admission is quickly gaining weight - but the DIA says that won't happen.

While some are for the idea, some leader in Detroit's suburbs are not.

"I think back pedaling on a promise that was made to our taxpayers is a bad idea," says Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner.

The promise came in a 2012 ballot proposal where voters in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties approved a tax hike for free admission and educational outreach opportunities in their respective counties. The taxes provide about $23 million a year for the DIA. The proposal to charge admission for tri-county residents would bring in about another $1.5 million.

"I think that the course of bringing in the philanthropic and foundation community is a much better idea. I think that the DIA is enough of an economic development driver for the state of Michigan that it really warrants a state investment," says Meisner.

The DIA released this statement responding to the proposal:

"While it is difficult to counter the deluge of misinformation that surrounds the City of Detroit's bankruptcy and the DIA's involvement in this issue, we feel compelled to state that under no circumstances will we alter the free general admission policy for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. Reports suggesting that the DIA should consider this option are simply misguided. The DIA is committed to maintaining its commitments to the counties through the ten years of millage funding. We remain grateful to tri-county residents for their support and look forward to welcoming them to the DIA."

Detroit emergency manager spokesmen Bill Nowling tells Fox 2's Randy Wimbley Kevyn Orr is not considering the plan, either.

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