People Mover in Detroit will keep moving through June 2013
The group that runs the People Mover (Detroit's downtown light-rail system) announced today that it has secured enough funding to operate the system though June 2013.
Officials from the Detroit Transportation Corporation (DTC) say they "have a special reason to give thanks this season" because they've made up for a $3.4 million shortfall for the current fiscal year. The system will also get $6.2 million for following fiscal year.
The money is coming from an escrow account set up in 1989 for maintenance of the People Mover’s guideway system. Officials say the guideway structure is "sound and has been maintained in good condition."
The Detroit News reports the system has seen cuts from city government and the state:
The City Council cut the People Mover's annual subsidy in July by almost a quarter to $3.4 million. That triggered the state of Michigan to reduce its $3.6 million matching subsidy to $1 million — a big blow to the system's $15 million budget...
Officials increased the People Mover's fares to 75 cents from 50 cents last month — the first bump in the system's 24-year history. But the system has never come close to its break-even point, which would require 10 times more annual ridership.
The News reports that fares from 2.3 million riders in 2010 generated $900,000.