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Tuesday, April 23, 2013    

FTA gives environmental OK to Detroit streetcar project


The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has completed its environmental review and issued an amended Record of Decision that allows the Woodward Avenue Streetcar project in Detroit to advance to the next phases of design, right-of-way acquisition and construction, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

The FTA issued the amended decision to approve the environmental factors earlier this month.

Also known as M-1 RAIL, the proposed 3.3-mile, fixed-rail, at-grade streetcar system will be located entirely within the right of way of Woodward Avenue. It would operate in mixed traffic and run from Larned Street in downtown Detroit north to Chandler Street and Delaware Street, north of Grand Boulevard in the New Center district, according to the FTA decision posted on MDOT's website.

M-1 RAIL will be expandable to accommodate future transportation needs and operate in connection with other transit options, such as bus rapid transit, commuter rail or existing bus services, according to the M-1 RAIL website.

M-1 RAIL involves a consortium of businesses, institutions and foundations interested in implementing and operating the streetcar system as a way to revitalize the corridor's economy. After construction, M1-RAIL would operate the streetcar for up to 10 years, according to MDOT officials.

M-1 RAIL would fund the construction and operation, with a combination of corporate and philanthropic donations, passenger fares, the sale of advertising and naming rights, and state assistance. Major funding sources include more than $90 million in private funds, $25 million in federal funding and $16 million in New Market Tax Credits.

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