The M-1 RAIL, the 3.3-mile light rail circulator project along Woodward Avenue in Detroit, has been awarded $25 million in federal funding, according to the project’s organizers and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The grant is a critical piece of funding needed to move the project forward.
The federal grant will be combined with more than $100 million in donations from philanthropic foundations and regional corporations and institutions to fund the construction, maintenance and operation of the rail line. The project will eventually be given to an operating entity, such as a regional transit authority, which recently received approval in the Michigan legislature.
The project’s organizers submitted a business plan in the spring of 2012. They are currently finalizing engineering plans and will reissue requests for information in early 2013. Organizers expect to break ground later this year, with the goal to begin operations in late 2015.
The streetcar system will have 11 stations on Woodward running from downtown to New Center. It will also be expandable to accommodate future needs and will operate in harmony with other transit options, including the Detroit Department of Transportation, Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, Amtrak, as well as future transit initiatives, such as the proposed bus rapid transit system.