Could Detroiters’ morning commute be made easier by instituting a downtown light rail system? That is the question facing the Federal Transit Administration.
The city’s business district could stand to benefit from a project under consideration that currently stretches from the Detroit Riverfront to 8 Mile – and could extend even farther into the northern suburbs.
The Woodward Avenue Light Rail project drew 300 people to hearings Saturday to discuss the impact it could have on neighborhoods, traffic, and jobs. Additional public comments will be gathered through March 14 as the Federal Transit Administration takes all of these perspectives into consideration in determining whether the light rail line is beneficial to the city.
According to Crain’s Detroit Business:
Metro Detroit is the only large urban area in the country without a rapid transit system, according to Tricia Harr, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Federal, state and city officials signed a deal last month to spend $25 million on the 12-station light rail line between downtown and Grand Boulevard in the New Center area.
The grant money comes from federal stimulus funds and covers only the project’s first phase.
A private group has arranged for about $125 million in private funding for the rail line, which could eventually cover the 9.3 miles from the Detroit River to its northern boundary.
How would a light rail line impact your commute to or from work, or your ability to travel around the city during the work day? Would you find it useful or are you against the idea? Share your perspective in our comments section below.