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Donors give $8M for Detroit EMS units, police cars

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, center, unveils an ambitious plan by local business leaders to fund the purchase of public safety vehicles for the cash-strapped city, on Monday, March 25, 2013. In what was described as an "unprecedented collaboration," Bing held a press conference with industrialist Roger Penske to announce the plan that included an $8 million donation for the leasing of 23 new EMS vehicles and 100 police cruisers. A separate $6 million has also been committed for recreation programming in the city, with $5 million from Lear Corp. and $1 million from DTE Energy Co. (AP Photo/The Detroit News, David Coates)

DETROIT (AP) -- Several businesses have pledged a total of $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.

Racing team owner Roger Penske, who leads Penske Automotive Group and who's Penske Corp. is among the donors, joined Bing at a news conference at City Hall to announce the donation. The other donors are 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.

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 enable the city to 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.

Other donors include The Kresge Foundation and Platinum Equity LLC, the mayor's office 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.