The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that it has provided a $25m TIGER grant to build the Woodward Ave. streetcar line in Detroit, Michigan, US.
Around $100m of the $137m project will be funded by M-1 Rail, a coalition of private-sector philanthropic and business leaders, while the remaining money will come from state and local sources.
The 3.3-mile light rail line will circumnavigate Detroit’s city centre, serving 11 stations, with connections to Campus Martius, Comerica Park, the Detroit Medical Center area and Wayne State University.
Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said that the M-1 Rail project will be a catalyst for bringing new jobs, employers, retailers, and attractions into downtown, Midtown, and the New Center area along Woodward Avenue.
"And with the new regional transportation authority now in place, Greater Detroit can stand up a transit network that meets residents’ needs while expanding economic opportunities," Rogoff said.
The M-1 Rail project is expected to complement and strengthen the regional transportation system, while in the future it will operate along with other transit systems, including DDOT, SMART, Amtrak and the people mover, as well as any future transit initiatives, such as the proposed bus rapid transit system.
M-1 Rail chairman Roger Penske said that the line will give a boost to investment, economic development and urban revitalisation.
"The light rail circulator will strengthen the backbone of the Detroit region, which will spur significant additional investment within Detroit and our entire community," Penske said.
M-1 Rail plans to complete the supplementary environmental assessment for the project in a few months and issue a request for information for the key components of the project, with groundbreaking scheduled later in 2013.