It’s a great day in Detroit! New energy and new developments have been met with a handshake from the federal government today, as U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the M-1 Rail project would receive $25 million for regional transportation.
Inside Wayne State University’s Welcome Center, Gov. Rick Snyder, Mayor Dave Bing, Senators Levin and Stabenow, and Congressmen Dingell, Levin and Peters, joined businessmen Roger Penske, Dan Gilbert, Matt Cullen and a host of other government and business leaders in celebrating the beginning of a modern public transit system in the region.
Gov. Snyder mentioned that this is the 24th time in Michigan’s history that the state has attempted to create a mass transit system. After several changes over the last year, the revised M-1 system will have 11 stops (from Congress north to Grand Boulevard) and six streetcars, stretching 3.3 miles, and costing approximately $140 million.
Private investors such as the Kresge Foundation, the Penske Corp., Quicken Loans, Compuware, and several others came together to raise $100 million.
In LaHood’s 13th visit to Detroit, he emphasized how impressed he was with public and private efforts which played a key role in the Obama administration’s backing of the project, saying, “No other city in America had business leaders come together and raise $100 million.” He added that $6.5 million in Federal Transit Administration funds would help the region develop bus rapid transit networks and connect Detroit’s suburbs with its downtown urban core.
All of the speakers at today’s event stressed the importance of public transportation in any city and regional plan for economic growth and sustainability, and that Detroit’s time has finally arrived.
M-1 Rail officials expect to break ground early this year, with the rail line beginning operation by late 2015. The ultimate goal is for the M-1 Rail to connect to the much-anticipated broader bus system that will expand to Macomb and Oakland counties as well as Detroit Metro Airport.
Here at Quicken Loans, we’re excited to be a part of creating streetcar travel in Detroit that will give many people in the area the opportunity to explore and enjoy all that our region has to offer!