Friday, January 18, 2013

As expected, Feds give $25 million to M-1 light rail

Transportation Secretary LaHood's announcent today lived up to expectations.  WXYZ has the video from today.

A $25 million grant has been award to bring the M-1 Rail system to life.

That early report passes along the elite opinion about the announcement. In a follow-up, WXYZ reports the reaction of the people along Woodward, who are quite positive about the light rail line.

M-1 Rail funding announced

I'm with all the people interviewed in the segment.  The M-1 light rail line will be good for business, it needs to be extended north of Midtown, and Detroit's public transportation pales next to Boston's.*

The Detroit Free Press article on this doesn't add much more to the story except the importance of the creation of the transit authority.
The federal support came after the state Legislature approved a regional transportation authority late last year that will be charged with reforming bus service in southeast Michigan, building a city-suburban network of rapid-transit buses and, perhaps later, wrapping in M-1 Rail and a wider network of rail. The region’s leaders fought for decades over how to create a regional transportation system, and LaHood said no federal money for rail transit would come without a transit authority being established.
As I wrote, some good came out of the Inflamed Duck session, along with all the bad.

* In fact, Detroit is way behind metropolitan Boston, so far that even when the light rail is completed, it will still be more than 35 years behind.  I can attest to this personally.  In 1979, I took a bus from downtown Waltham, which at the time was a far fringe suburb, to Cambridge, then got on the subway to Boston proper, where I walked around Boston Common and the Combat Zone, then returned to Waltham.  The equivalent journey in Detroit today is just plain impossible and still would be in 2015 so long as the bus system doesn't expand.

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