Michigan will get close $46.7 million for 16 transportation projects across the state. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Dearborn today, where he announced the funding.
Governor Rick Snyder says he and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will also head up a task force to try and break through a decades-old effort to create a regional transportation authority for southeast Michigan. Snyder says he wants to see quick action, "because we have a legacy here of planning too long and not acting enough.”
Right now, separate bus systems serve Detroit and the suburbs. Both systems face major budget troubles. DDOT, the system that serves Detroit, has cut routes, and riders have complained about hours-long waits. Meanwhile, the suburban system, SMART, just announced massive service cuts.
"I am hopeful in a short period of time we will have a solution or more than one option in terms of how we're going to deal with that problem," said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.
Part of that solution will come in the form of help from the federal government, which has pledged $6 million for the city to purchase new busses. Bing says he's also hoping for concessions from the union that represents the city's bus drivers.
Here's a complete list of the Michigan projects that will receive federal funding:
· The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments will receive $2 million to study transit options in a 5.9-mile section of the Woodward Avenue corridor between Eight Mile and Fifteen Mile Roads.
· The Blue Water Area Transportation Commission will receive $6.9 million to replace the existing Quay Street Transfer Center with one that is more centrally located in downtown Port Huron. The project will consolidate the transfer center over a smaller area, decreasing the time needed to make necessary transfers and improving service to customers.
· The Capital Area Transit Authority will receive $4 million to replace buses in its fleet that are beyond their useful lives with hybrid-electric buses and to rehabilitate existing buses to extend their useful lives by five years.
· The Macatawa Area Express Transportation Authority will receive $2 million to replace its aging bus facility with one that will meet the needs of the current fleet while allowing for future expansion. The new facility will include a number of LEED design aspects to allow savings on operating expenses.
· The Thunder Bay Transportation Authority will receive $6 million for phases one and two of a new administration and maintenance facility. This facility will incorporate the newest circulation and ventilation system to reduce the harmful emissions from the diesel fleet. To reduce operational costs, the facility will also include additional LEED and green design techniques to the greatest extent possible.
· The Michigan DOT will receive $746,770 for public transportation bus equipment projects across the state in rural and small urban areas.
· The Mass Transportation Authority in Flint will receive $5.2 million to purchase hybrid buses to replace city buses in its fleet that are beyond their useful lives, and $3 million to purchase CNG coaches to replace commuter buses in its fleet that are beyond their useful lives.
· The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority will receive $2.6 million to purchase clean diesel buses with hybrid-electric components to increase bus service along the Washtenaw Avenue Corridor. The project is among a number of strategies for transportation and development improvements in the corridor. The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority will also receive $1.2 million to study transit alternatives in the 8.5-mile crescent-shaped corridor extending from northeast Ann Arbor through the University of Michigan (UM) North and Central Campus, through the UM South Campus to Briarwood Mall near I-94.
· The City of Grand Haven/Harbor Transit will receive $607,200 to purchase additional vehicles to allow the expansion of service into a nearby township not currently served by transit.
· The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation will receive nearly $5 million to replace buses in its fleet that have met their useful lives with hybrid biodiesel/electric buses.
· The City of Detroit Department of Transportation will receive $6 million to replace buses that are beyond their useful lives, $518,291 to rehabilitate a number of buildings at its Coolidge Terminal, and $320,000 to develop an asset management system that will more effectively track the condition of its fleet, facilities and equipment.
· The Interurban Transit Partnership will receive $600,000 to study the 12-mile Allendale corridor along Lake Michigan Drive/M-45 connecting the Grand Valley State University Allendale campus, the Standale/downtown Walker area, the GVSU Pew Campus, and downtown Grand Rapids.