Friday, May 22, 2009

Public, private parties in accord for Detroit LRT

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Detroit’s Department of Transportation and private-sector interests in the Motor City have reached agreement on a $125 million, 3.4-mile lightrail line planned for Woodward Avenue, known at M1 Rail.

The plan adopted will advance curb-side passenger access, a marked difference from DDOT’s proposed $371 million “Detroit Transit Options forGrowth,” which envisioned light rail occupying the center of the street. ButM1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen emphasized, “This is in no way competition,” while citing the accord between the parties.

M1-Rail acquired state legislative approvals and stateoperational funding mechanisms last January, as legislators were informed ofthe $125 million in financial support from private industry supporters andother backers. That support includes roughly $30 million in private donations and station sponsorships, $9 million from Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority, and $35 million from the Kresge Foundation.