Thursday, June 19, 2014

M1 project still a go, backers say

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A projected $12 million funding gap will not deter continued planning for Detroit's M1 (or M-1) streetcar line, project supporters have vowed.

Representatives of the M1 project addressing the APTA Rail Conference in Montreal reassured participants in a roundtable session Tuesday, June 17, 2014, that the $137 million, 3.9-mile starter line was progressing, despite published reports of a funding gap.

In a statement Wednesday, June 18, to local media project President and CEO Matthew Cullen echoed that message, saying "construction of the M1 Rail streetcar will proceed as planned and commence upon City Council approval of our operating agreement."

The city reported has applied for a supplemental $12.2 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.

The majority of funding has been generated by a public-private partnership, with substantial contributions from corporations and philanthropic organizations.

The initial starter line is a scaled-back version of earlier plans for a rail line stretching nine miles from downtown to 8 Mile on Detroit's northern border. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) options are being considered to bridge the distance gap as an interim measure.