Michigan city on why it turned down federal funds: It's not free money

“There’s nothing free about government money,” Mayor Janice Daniels said in an interview. “It’s never free, and it’s crippling our way of life.”

Other Republican officeholders have said “Thanks, but no thanks” to federal money for high-speed rail: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin rejected an $810 million federal grant to extend passenger rail from Milwaukee to Madison; Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey killed a project to dig a new commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River. But those actions have generally involved criticism of the underlying logic of the projects, or projections of enormous costs to be borne down the line by state and local governments.

The Troy transit center’s construction, by comparison, required no local contribution, and its predicted annual maintenance cost of $31,000 was, in the context of the city’s $50 million budget, “de minimis,” said Mark Miller, the assistant city manager.