Detroit Lt Rail System Stalled Until Questions Answered #DetroitLtRailSystem #TellUsDetroit

By Karen Hudson Samuels/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) – The future of a light-rail in Detroit may be on track but not before US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has more information on several key sticking points.

The Secretary met Monday morning with Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, M-1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen, Roger Penske and private investors in what many had anticipated would the announcement of $16 million in tax credits and a $25 million federal dollar grant.

But it is back to the drawing board for the M1-Rail Group, a group of private investors including Roger Penske, Dan Gilbert, Peter Karmanos and Mike Ilitch.

Governor Snyder said the group has sixty days to answer, with more detail, questions on operating costs and oversight of the system. “There’s a handful of questions, just four or five important questions dealing with operating costs, capital costs, and things we should answer”.

The question of how a Regional Transit Authority will govern the system must also be addressed..

Although the M1-Rail Group has committed to subsidizing the rail system for ten years, questions on funding of annual costs remains. Typically passenger fares, advertising and naming rights are applied yearly to maintain and operate transportation systems.

To date the business investors who make up the M1-Rai Group have contributed close to $100 for the cost of constructing the light rail system which would run 3.4 miles along Woodward from Congress Street in downtown Detroit to West Grand Boulevard in the New Center area.

Secretary Ray LaHood first supported a more extensive rail system for Detroit; those plans later evolved into a regional high-speed bus system backed both the Governor and the Mayor.

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