Detroit must dig itself out of the hole it created and cannot wait to see if the federal government will come to its rescue, the city's emergency manager said on Sunday.
Kevyn Orr, charged with guiding the collapsed Motor City out of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, said any outside assistance would be "great" but he is not banking on it.
"Hope is not a strategy from my perspective. I can't plan on the basis of what may or may not happen or what help may or may not come," Orr said on "Fox News Sunday."
"We are not expecting the cavalry to come charging in," he said. "We have to fix it because we dug the hole."
(Read more: What's next for Detroit? Long court battle )
Detroit filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, setting the stage for a costly court battle with creditors and opening a new chapter in the long struggle to revive the cradle of America's auto industry.
If approved by a federal judge, the bankruptcy would force Detroit's thousands of creditors into negotiations with Orr to resolve an estimated $18.5 billion in debt.
(Read more: Judge seeks to haltDetroit bankruptcy filing)
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said he was talking to officials in Washington about what they could do to help.
"I'm not sure exactly what to ask for. I mean, money is going (to) help, no doubt about that, but how much?" Bing said on ABC's "This Week."
The mayor has had no executive authority since Orr's appointment as emergency manager in March.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder told CBS' "Face the Nation" the city's problems had been 60 years in the making and he saw no prospect of a federal or state bailout.
Detroit has been hit hard by the move away from industrial manufacturing in America since the 1950s, its problems compounded by chronic mismanagement and a dwindling population. Retirees now far outnumber active workers among the city's 700,000 residents, and unfunded pension liabilities are a key source of its problems.