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Tue April 24, 2012
Rail group says it has money to build system, run it for a decade
A group with plans to build a privately funded light rail line in Detroit says it has the money it needs to construct it, and to run it for ten years. Backers laid out their case in a feasibility study submitted to the federal government.
The M-1 rail line would run along a three-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue in Detroit.
Supporters say it’s an important project – especially at a time when the city of Detroit is cutting back dramatically on its spending.
"We view the M-1 initiative as a real catalyst for economic development along this entire downtown district that is undergoing a bit of a renaissance already, but we think this can even jump-start it.," said M-1 Rail President Matt Cullen.
The project was nearly derailed late last year – after Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Rick Snyder pulled their support in favor of a rapid bus system. The mayor and governor now say they think both projects should move forward.
If and when a regional transit authority for southeast Michigan gets off the ground, the idea is to hand the system over to that authority.
"Our aspiration to own and operate a rail system long-term," Cullen said. "It’s a group of philanthropists that have put this together."
Construction is expected to begin in early 2013, and be completed in 2015.