Light Rail Mass Transit Location Announced

DETROIT - A light rail mass transit plan for Detroit is one step closer to reality Monday after officials announced the chosen location for the $371 million project.

The electric rail cars will run up the middle of Woodward Avenue, from a yet to be determined starting point, to Foxtown and on to the State Fairgrounds, where a 400-space parking complex will service incoming commuters.

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Monday's announcement, made by Norman White, chairman for The Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study, in conjunction with U.S. Rep. Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D), and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick marks the initiation of the preliminary engineering phase.

The rail will generate 12,000 jobs and service 11, 000 round trips daily, according to the city's technical review.

The $371 million light rail mass transit program, sponsored by DDOT, will be up to 60 percent federally funded and 40 percent funded by private contributions and foundation grants.

The city does not have full funding for the next phase, but they are hoping that Cheeks-Kilpatrick can help by using her seat on the state appropriations committee.

Some Detroiters said they are leery of the project because feasibility studies on the light rail mass transit project have been in the works for 30 years.

Activists said the city is pursing a process that worked to get Denver, Minneapolis and Dallas on rails.

DDOT rider Marcia Yakes told Local 4 she hopes something will change soon, because she is sick of waiting for buses that don't show up.

Passengers would ride streetcar style trains powered by overhead wires running on steel rails embedded in the street and operated by a driver.

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