Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rail the Future for Motor City

After being abandoned by the auto industry and left utterly devastated, the City of Detroit is looking at rebuilding itself with light rail, commuter trains, and high-speed buses. According to the Detroit Free Press:
That start-small idea got a big boost Monday when Detroit Mayor Dave Bing received a gleaming endorsement from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and assurances that the Obama administration is supportive of extending the light rail -- a $425-million project -- that would run from the heart of downtown Detroit to the suburbs and stimulate a transit system for the region.

A private group working to bring rail to Woodward has arranged about $125 million in private funding for a Woodward rail line between Jefferson and the New Center from business leaders -- including Roger Penske, Mike and Marian Ilitch, Dan Gilbert and Peter Karmanos -- and organizations such as the Kresge Foundation and the Downtown Development Authority.

"The city of Detroit will not be successful without a bunch of transportation options for people -- we have to have this rail," Gov. Jennifer Granholm said. "This is a huge deal for the city, but this is also a huge deal for the state."
It is really great seeing surface light rail being used as a tool to positively transform cities the world over. It will be interesting to see how things go in Detroit. Another interesting fact about Detroit is that they have a 5km SkyTrain that loops around their downtown. Not surprising, there is no talk about building with SkyTrain technology for Detroit's future.

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