A Woodward Avenue light rail system has been something local Detroit activists have been working at for quite a while. Today, Detroit's Downtown Development Authority voted to contribute $9 million. Still, it'll never happen.
The M1-RAIL project (Woodward's designation is M1) was previously supposed to be a privately funded project with a surface level light rail system making a 3.4 mile trek north from downtown's waterfront to a section of town called New Center, where an Amtrak station already exists. The hope is additional private or government funding will be generated upon completion of this project and used to extend the line all the way into the first Detroit suburb on Woodward, Ferndale. The whole system ironically replaces the streetcars Detroit lost as everyone abandoned city living and mass transit for suburbs and the automobile. This new $9 million from the Detroit Development Authority will be added to the existing $30 million already raised, along with an expected $35 million grant from the Kresge Foundation. Still a long way off from the targeted $120 million needed for the project.
So you know, at the end of all this we here in Detroit will have a shiny new light rail line to ferry us along an eight mile route from empty factory to empty factory. [Detroit Free Press]