Light Rail Line Proposed For Detroit

Feds To Study Area For 1 Year Before Approving Plan

DETROIT - Top federal and state officials gathered at Detroit's Institute of Arts on Monday to announce the future of a light rail in Detroit.

The proposed rail line would run along Woodward Avenue, from downtown Detroit to 8 Mile Road.

Federal officials said the area would be studied for a year, in terms of environmental safety feasibility, before the plan would move forward.

"Ridership modeling will give us the answers to really where the best stations are to be located and what are the best frequencies of rail services," said Federal Transit Administration Director Peter Rogoff.

Transportation officials said the plan is expected to cost between $450 million and 500 million, with about half coming from government funding.

But local leaders eager to see the plan set in place have already pledged millions.

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, businessman Roger Penske and the Kresge Foundation have collectively put $125 million on the table.

Detroit's Transit Union president, Henry Gaffney, said the rail would mean more jobs.

"It's been proven all around the country that when you build rails, economic development follows," he said.

Several Detroiters Local 4 spoke with expressed support for the rail plan.

"I believe this will bring a lot of new residents to downtown Detroit," said resident Donna Walker.

Wayne State University student Daniel Clark said the rail would do more than just help people get from place to place.

"We're starting to get more industries coming downtown and different businesses. So, I think it would help," he said.

There are two public hearings on the rail plan scheduled for 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the Considine Little Rock Family Life Center on Woodward Avenue.

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