Detroit Asks for $80 Million IT Overhaul

Archaic system a big mess


As Detroit begins its slog through bankruptcy, the city is asking a federal court to allow it to spend $80 million to overhaul its "catastrophic" technology infrastructure. But that amount appears small compared to the massive amount of retooling needed.

More than $18 billion in debt pushed the city to file for insolvency last month, in the country's largest ever municipal bankruptcy. Detroit's woes were legion: decades of industrial decline, the exodus of hundreds of thousands of residents, together with looming pension obligations, left the city few obvious roads out of debt. But Detroit's "archaic" information systems also led to "excessive costs" and "massive inefficiencies" which continue to hinder the city from providing basic services like responding to 911 calls, according to bankruptcy documents filed by the city's state appointed emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.

Detroit's technology systems "are in desperate need of upgrades" with "substantial investment" required "to begin what will be a long recovery," Mr. Orr stated in a court filing. Mr. Orr is asking federal bankruptcy court and creditors to allow Detroit to invest more than $80 million to upgrade most of the city's IT systems over the next 10 years. City officials and Mr. Orr did not respond to requests for interview before publication time.