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Old Posted Aug 18, 2009, 6:18 AM
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LMich LMich is offline
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It seems that the in order to coordinate itself with the DTOGS plan, M1-Rail, the private-developed plan, is slowing down its push so as not to throw the entire public schedule off:


Woodward Avenue M1 Rail construction delayed until 2010

By Bill Shea / Crain's Detroit Business

Aug. 17, 2009

Construction of the privately funded $120 million light-rail line on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue has been pushed back into 2010 as organizers cooperate with a related city project.

Work was originally supposed to begin by the end of this year on M1 Rail, which will link Hart Plaza and the New Center Area.

The delay was confirmed today by Kim Zitny, vice president of Troy-based Eisbrenner Public Relations, M1 Rail’s outside public relations agency. She didn’t say when in 2010 work might begin.

The decision to delay construction was sparked by the Detroit Department of Transportation’s desire to use the private money expended as the qualified local matching money for its own project to extend light rail from New Center to the state fairgrounds at Eight Mile Road, Zitny said.

The $371 million DDOT project, called the Detroit Transit Options for Growth study, needs a local match to qualify for federal transit project funding. After months of closed-door talks, the city and the private project agreed to treat their projects as separate but joint cooperative efforts, which theoretically allow the $120 million to be used as a match.

The M1 plan is a 3.4-mile, 12-stop curbside line, with 12-18 months of construction. It will operate as a nonprofit and eventually be turned over to a regional system.

M1 backers include Penske Corp. founder Roger Penske, chairman of the project; Peter Karmanos Jr., founder of Detroit-based software maker Compuware Corp.; Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings and co-founder of Little Caesar Enterprises Inc.; and Quicken Loans/Rock Financial founder Dan Gilbert, the project's co-chairman.

There had been worry that M1 Rail’s accelerated construction schedule line would jeopardize use of the private money as matching funds because federal requirements such as an environmental impact study wouldn’t have been completed by the end of the year, organizers said.

Approximately $180 million — the $125 million being raised by M1 Rail and $55 million programmed by DDOT — has been earmarked toward the estimated $220 million needed to match a federal grant, the city has said.

Zitny also confirmed that, contrary to online rumors, the projects are not merging and will remain separate efforts.
Apparently, still, the two plans are going to merge on the administrative front of things. This is all a little strange that M1-Rail is essentially going to cede its money to the public plan, and I wonder what they asked for to agree to this delay?
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