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In Detroit yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx joined government officials and private donors at a track-signing ceremony to mark the start of the M-1 Rail streetcar construction and to formally announce a $12.2 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery VI (TIGER) grant awarded to the project.The project was one of 72 to receive TIGER VI grants, which Foxx announced late last week. The TIGER program's 2014 round of funding totaled $600 million for projects in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
Regarding the M-1 Rail initiative, Foxx noted the private industry's involvement in helping to fund the 3.3-mile streetcar, which will travel along Woodward Avenue between Congress and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. "What we saw in this project was ... the strength, determination and the mettle of a great city. When Detroit moves, America moves," Foxx said in a prepared statement.M-1 Rail is the first major transit project to be led and funded by private businesses and philanthropic organizations in partnership with local, state and federal governments. Construction began this summer, and is slated for completion in 2016.At the signing ceremony, government officials, leaders of Detroit's corporate and philanthropic entities and citizens signed two five-foot pieces of steel streetcar track that will be installed in the Penske Corporation Tech Center, to be located near the northern end of the line. The commemorative track will serve as an important historical marker and long-term reminder of the collaborative public-private partnership formed to make modern streetcar transportation a reality in Detroit."It's unprecedented that the private and philanthropic leadership of a community commit more than $100 million to design, build, and operate a public streetcar line and through its TIGER grant, USDOT has reaffirmed its commitment to Detroit and M-1 Rail," said M-1 Rail President and CEO Matthew Cullen. Also recognized yesterday were the private donors to the project, including the two newest: Ford Motor Co. and DTE Energy.
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