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Detroit Free Press: Dream of regional rail-transit system is nearing reality [View All]

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-16-09 04:04 PM
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Detroit Free Press: Dream of regional rail-transit system is nearing reality
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Dream of regional rail-transit system is nearing reality
$44 million for line pledged; leaders back plan

BY JOHN GALLAGHER FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER March 16, 2009


After decades of missed chances, southeast Michigan appears closer than ever to getting what other major cities already enjoy -- a true regional transportation system.

The first link in that potential system got a major boost last week when the Kresge Foundation and Detroit's Downtown Development Authority pledged a combined $44 million to the proposed M1-RAIL light-rail line on Woodward in Detroit.

The potential is big. Beyond actually moving people from place to place, regional transit systems tend to spur nearby creation of residential, retail and other development. The regional transit plan being considered for southeast Michigan envisions 30,000 new jobs, $1.4 billion in annual payroll and almost 11,000 housing units built near the transit lines, as well as boosted retail sales and other benefits, all spurred by the year 2035 if a regional transit system is built.

Momentum is building. In addition to the big pledges last week, Congress approved a $950,000 earmark for a Detroit-Ann Arbor route, and regional leaders expressed hope late last week that some of the federal stimulus money could go toward a regional transit system.

"What gives me the most optimism is that we've gotten to the point where just about everyone in the region agrees we need quality regional transit," said Megan Owens, executive director of the nonprofit citizens group Transportation Riders United. .........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.freep.com/article/20090316/BUSINESS04/903160...



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