Saturday, January 7, 2012

New beginnings for two Metro Detroit transit projects

This morning, the Detroit newspapers had good news about two transit projects, Detroit light rail and the Troy transit center, that had been left for dead. It looks like both might happen anyway.

First, the news about light rail in Detroit from the Detroit Free Press.

Detroit light rail revived, but with shorter route
Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing insisted Friday that a light-rail line for Detroit is still possible, backtracking on their decision last month to pull passenger trains out of the mix of modernized transit options for the city.

Snyder and Bing said they're supporting a plan for a shorter rail line from downtown to New Center that would be built as part of an upgraded system of rapid-transit buses crisscrossing the city and suburbs.

"We see light rail as a part of regional transportation, so light rail is not dead," Bing said at a news conference at his office with Snyder and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "It's back on the table."
The mayor and governor said a less-ambitious rail system, about 3.4 miles long, could still be built, largely with private funding through the M-1 Rail group of investors.

In order to secure federal funding, the group was given 90 days to produce a study showing it could make the line work.
So it's not a definite yes, but the project has the status of "not dead yet." That's cause for hope.

Next, the Detroit News reports that a Revised Troy transit center plan up for vote.
The City Council on Monday is expected to vote on a scaled-back proposal for the Troy Transit Center weeks after the panel failed to award a contract to begin the federally funded project.

The resolution released late Friday reduces expenditures by about $2 million and was proposed by Councilman Dane Slater. "The integrity of the project is still there," said Slater, adding the new plan is based on a smaller facility with fewer features.

"It's my hope that through these concessions we can get a majority vote on this project and move it forward."
The way this article is written, it seems that it might pass by one vote. That would be enough.

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