FTA clears way for Detroit's streetcar project along Woodward Avenue

M-1 RAIL expects to begin construction in 2013, rail to be operational in 2015

DETROIT - The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave clearance to the 3.3-mile circulating streetcar project along Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

This is the last approval step under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Watch: Detroit to see streetcar line along Woodward.

With the FTA's environmental clearance and the issuance of the Amended Record of Decision (ROD), the project will now move forward to the next phases of design, right of way acquisition and construction.

About the project:

  • The fixed-rail system will be located entirely within the right-of-way of Woodward Avenue.
  • The streetcars would travel at approximately 12 mph - making it a 16 minute one-way trip.
  • The line is expected to include 11 stations, with connections to Campus Martius, Comerica Park, the Detroit Medical Center area and Wayne State University.
  • M-1 RAIL expects to begin construction of the system south of Adams Street in 2013.¬†Construction north of Adams Street will begin in 2014, which will include Michigan Department of
  • MDOT is also planning a reconstruction of 2.5 miles of Woodward Avenue from Sibley Street to Chandler Street.¬†
  • M-1 RAIL plans to complete the entire system and start operations in late 2015.
  • Detroit's long-planned transit project will be funded in part by a $25 million dollar grant from the U.S. Transportation Secretary.
  • The entire project is expected to cost a total of $137 million.

Also on Monday, project builder, M-1 Rail president and CEO Matthew P. Cullen welcomed eight new members to the non-profit's board of directors and introduced a new chief financial officer.

"On behalf of the entire M-1RAIL team and our community partners I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the FTA for confirming the streetcar project complies with National Environmental Policy Act and Federal transit laws," said Cullen.  "I would also like to thank the Michigan Department of Transportation, the City of Detroit, all the people and organizations who support this project, along with the passionate members of the Detroit community who provided valuable input. Your continued commitment and contribution is a key first step in an improved transportation system for all of Detroit and our region."

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