detroit mass transit

Transportation
4:36 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Below-ground work starts on Detroit light rail

Artist's conception of proposed Woodward Avenue light rail line
Credit M-1 Rail Detroit

DETROIT (AP) - Below-ground utility relocation is underway on a 3.3-mile light rail system that will run from Detroit's riverfront to the city's New Center area.

Officials for the M-1 Rail say crews are moving or replacing water catch basins, storm manholes and water main gate valves along Woodward Avenue.

The work is the initial step toward full construction activities on the streetcar system and is not expected to prevent customer access to local businesses.

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Transportation
8:22 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Commentary: Whatever happened to the fast buses?

Lessenberry commentary for 3/22/13

Back in December, when the legislature stunned Michigan by making this a right to work state, the drama over that drowned out another hugely significant development. The lawmakers approved a Regional Transit Authority for the Detroit Metropolitan area, finally paving the way for a system of fast buses with their own special lanes and a long-overdue coordination of city and suburban bus systems.

But there’s been little publicity about the project since. Earlier this week, I talked to the two men who know most about it. Paul Hillegonds, who the governor appointed to head the new RTA, and John Hertel, now the general manager of SMART, the suburban bus system. Both told me things were on track.

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Politics & Government
7:34 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Southeast Michigan has a regional transit authority. What's next?

Credit Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Transit advocates in southeast Michigan are hailing the creation of a new regional transit authority.


Governor Snyder signed legislation to create the authority this month. It will include members from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties, as well as the city of Detroit.


Megan Owens heads the group Transportation Riders United. She says the authority represents a “huge step forward” in coordinating the region’s fragmented transit systems—but transit advocates will be keeping a close eye on things.

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Politics & Government
9:28 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Commentary: Good news for Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 12/20/12

Whether or not you are from the Detroit area, you may well have wondered about the ongoing issue of the street lights.

There’s been constant discussion about the fact that at least half the lights never come on. This is not a great selling point for a city with a major crime problem.

So, why doesn’t Detroit just replace the lights? How expensive can new bulbs be? Well, it turns out that isn’t the real problem.

A few weeks ago, I talked to Glenda Price, a member of the city’s financial advisory board. She had just had a tour of the lighting department. She told me “the wonder is that any of the lights come on at all.” Some of the equipment is a century old.

Not only is it worn out, there is no way to get spare parts. So technicians jury-rig things, and cannibalize some machinery to keep other parts going.

But there’s only so much they can do. There’s hope now, however. Yesterday, Governor Rick Snyder came to Detroit to sign legislation allowing the city to appoint an authority that will be able to issue bonds, raise money, and fix the lighting system.

That was one of the less controversial results of the legislature’s now-famous lame duck session. Additionally, the governor signed a law making it easier for the Downtown Development Authority to help Mike Ilitch build the new hockey arena and entertainment complex he wants in the city.

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Transportation
9:49 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Detroit area leaders hail federal transit grant as 'model for joint cooperation'

Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Bus riders in and around Detroit will enjoy some updated buses, thanks to a federal grant.

Leaders officially announced a $30 million grant for regional transit systems Monday. It was the third-largest amount dispensed to any metro area nationally from the U.S. Transportation Department’s State of Good Repair grant fund.

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Transportation
6:42 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Hope still alive for Detroit light rail project

An artist's rendering of light rail on Woodward Ave.

There’s a chance light rail might still be a part of Detroit’s transportation future.

But backers of a proposed rail line on Woodward Avenue face a deadline to prove they have a viable plan.

In December, federal transportation officials, Governor Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing decided the M-1 light rail project should be scrapped.

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Politics
1:22 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Troy rejects federal grant, cancels transit center project

Troy Mayor Janice Daniels

Officials in the Detroit suburb of Troy will return $8.5 million in federal stimulus money that was supposed to build a new transit center.

After a last-ditch attempt at compromise, the Troy City Council voted 4 to 3 to cancel the project.

The issue has been extremely contentious. Troy officials had worked on the project for more than a decade.

But Tea Party-influenced candidates recently won a majority on the Troy City Council. They saw the project as an example of wasteful federal spending.

Mayor Janice Daniels says her vote was a matter of taking a stand.

“One of the issues that we campaigned on was we were not going approve this transit center because we didn’t believe it was the right way to use the taxpayer’s money or to move this city forward,” Daniels said.

The Council’s decision came despite pressure from Troy’s business community and Governor Snyder, who see expanding transit as a way to boost economic growth.

William Cowger is with the Troy Chamber of Commerce.

“Basically…they decided on ideology before Troy. That they would refuse funds that would help us in the future, for our economic development. Bottom line is, they gave away our money,” said Cowger.

The money will be re-allocated for other transportation projects.

Politics
4:17 pm
Mon July 11, 2011

Detroit light rail in question

John Smaltak modernstreetcar.org

Federal officials and Detroit civic leaders want to reassure people that a light rail project is still going forward.

Those reassurances come after a week of press reports and swirling rumors that some of the project’s private backers may be pulling out.

A group of private investors had pledged $100 million to finance the Woodward Avenue rail line. That money is crucial for the city to get federal matching grants.

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