U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $25 Million Recovery Act Grant Agreement for Detroit Light Rail Project

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1/20/2011
Contact: Paul Griffo
(202) 366-4064

Project Will Create Jobs, Increase Transportation Options and Spur Development

WASHINGTON – The proposed Woodward Avenue Light Rail project in Detroit is a step closer to reality thanks to a signed grant agreement between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the city of Detroit, and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.  The project received $25 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program.

In August 2010, Secretary LaHood and FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff visited Detroit to announce that an initial 3.4-mile, 12-station light rail line had been selected to receive the funds.

“Building this light rail system will create jobs for this great American city, and it will stimulate long-term economic growth by attracting investment to downtown Detroit and the New Center area,” said Secretary LaHood.

The initial phase of the light rail line would connect downtown Detroit to Grand Boulevard in the New Center district along the region's main travel artery via Woodward Avenue.  A second planned phase would extend the light rail line approximately 5.9 miles from Grand Boulevard to Eight-Mile Road near the state fairgrounds, for a total of 9.3 miles.   The FTA is currently completing an environmental impact statement for both phases of the project.

In December 2008, the Michigan legislature passed a bill to allow a private/non-profit entity to plan, build, operate and maintain rail service in the Detroit region.  In early 2009, the Detroit Department of Transportation announced that it would join forces with M1 Rail, a consortium of local businesses, to implement light rail on Woodward Avenue.

“Expanding transit options with light rail will help jumpstart Detroit’s economy,” Rogoff said.  “The FTA looks forward to partnering with Mayor Bing, MDOT and the local business community to make the entire 9.3 mile project a real transportation choice for the region.”

In addition to the Detroit light rail system, transit projects in New Orleans, Tucson, Ariz., Dallas, Portland, Ore., and the Washington, D.C. area were awarded grants ranging from $23 million to $63 million from the TIGER program.

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