Is the light rail dead in Detroit?

Mayor says city is moving forward on new regional bus system

Woodward light rail project diagram
Woodward light rail project diagram

DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said the city is moving forward with state and federal funding to install a regional high-speed bus system.

Bing said the idea to have a rail system from up Woodward Avenue didn't address the problem of regional transportation.

He said the new bus system will rely on Detroit Department of Transportation and suburban SMART buses to the 60 percent of people who live in Detroit but work outside of it to their jobs.

"I think the mistake too many people will make is that Detroit is against the suburbs. It's not about that at all. We are improving regional transportation," Bing said. "Detroiters as well as suburbanite partners will benefit from this."

The mayor said the city is not shutting down the light rail idea, which has private investors. But the focus is moving forward with the bus system.

"When you've got close to 60% of your employees in the city, got jobs outside the city, they need transportation to where the jobs are. So I think this really presents an opportunity for regional cooperation," Bing said.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., disagrees with the Mayor's decision and released this statement today: "I continue to believe that a world-class transit system that includes light rail along the Woodward Avenue corridor can deliver significant economic benefits to Detroit and the region. I support the efforts of private investors to preserve the viability of the light rail project."