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  #321  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2012, 8:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I hope the zoning component does pass... Seems like some serious opposition to that from some property-rights types (although it will only encourage more intense uses, so it expands rather than restricts property rights).
Honestly, if these things get Dem votes, they pass comfortably. I think the two supplmental bills failed less because of factions within the GOP caucus, and more because if I remember correctly, these were votes were taken after the Dems walked out of the capitol, and the Republicans basically said "f%ck it." for the day.

BTW, Snyder has played a good moderate on television for the past two years, and I guess up against the ideologues around him he kind of is, but most of this last minute hyper-partisan legislation is a result of senate GOP senators threatening a coup against the state senate majority leader if he didn't put this foward. The Kock Bros. and Dick Devos (a Michigan billionaire and failed gubernatorial Republican nominee) also began pumping money within the last week.

In other words, either the state senate majority leader and the governor took a side, or they were going to be immediately toppled in the case of the state senate majority leader, or competitively primaried in 2014 in the case of the governor. So, they both put on their best acting masks and talked about how great RtoW would be for Michigan. I think it's a coward's move and a stupid one because Snyder basically cut off a major part of his base he'll need for 2014 (i.e. apolitical/moderate/centrist voters), but it is what it is. So, he gets to payback the other half of his base (movement conservatives), but he's basically lost everyone else, even folks that aren't usually union supporters, because of his hypocrisy and the last-minute methods use to pass the legislation.
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  #322  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2012, 9:46 AM
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Good read on the situation. Welcome to the post-Citizens United world, where moderate Republicans have to live in constant fear of Tea Party challengers that are utterly crazy.

Of course, I still think Snyder's a dick. You don't compromise your principles the minute you run into opponents.
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  #323  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2012, 10:48 AM
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What's really rich is that when Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin were having their troubles surrounding union legislation, Snyder kind of stood arrogantly above it all stating:

Quote:
"I think it's unfortunate that they've gotten to that, I don't want to see that happen," Snyder said of the high profile fights and protests in neighboring states like Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. "If you want to draw it as a contrast, you look at now that they've had those things happen, do they have a productive environment to solve problems? Not necessarily. They're still overcoming the divisiveness, the hard feelings from all of that."
And, the kicker...

Quote:
"Right-to-work isn't on the agenda. We can rebuild our economy through less divisive means. We're not Wisconsin."
Yeah, now we are. Thanks for that. "One tough nerd" my ass. lol And, because of this, we might end up with a half-finished regional transit authority for some time. The good thing is that it's completed enough that it has the ability to accept money - this is why the privately-developed Woodward streetcar can begin construction in the first quarter of the coming year - and now coordinate the duplicate or poorly timed services of DDOT and SMART, but that's all it'll be able to do without the funding and zoning bill. That basically keeps Snyder's aterial BRT plan on hold. Talk about self-sabotage.

EDIT: It's being reported this morning by a capitol media insider that if Snyder signs Right to Work, then maybe the money the White House assured for Detroit's streetcar line and approvals for the new international bridge, might not be as readily available and the approvals not in the bag...looks like this isn't quite over, though, I still expect Snyder to call the president's bluff. There will also be a massive rally at the capitol, tomorrow. Things are coming to a head.
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  #324  
Old Posted Dec 10, 2012, 8:02 PM
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Okay, that's bullshit. It's one thing to grant money and withhold it because you don't think it will be spent properly. It's another thing entirely to withhold the grant because you disagree with the state government on an unrelated issue. They wouldn't stand for this in the South, which continues to receive billions every year in highway and light rail money.
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  #325  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2013, 5:14 AM
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Here we go. This makes clears the way for shovels:

Quote:
U.S. to award about $25 million for M-1

By David Shepardson | The Detroit News

January 10, 2013

Washington — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected to visit Detroit on Jan. 18 to announce around $25 million in federal funding for Detroit's light-rail streetcar project.

Michigan congressional aides confirm LaHood's planned trip and funding announcement, though couldn't confirm the precise funding award. A spokesman for LaHood wouldn't confirm the funding.

In a Detroit News interview last month, LaHood said federal funding for Michigan transportation efforts was on track.

"Once the legislative process is complete, we will head up there and have some good news," LaHood said. "It appears we're near the goal line, but you never really know until they pass the bills."

LaHood also will visit Detroit on Monday to make remarks at the North American International Auto Show. He has spent countless hours in meetings, calls and made several trips to Michigan to discuss the project.

Winning final approval for the regional transit authority helped clear the way for $25 million for the M-1 Woodward Avenue light-rail street car plan.

...
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  #326  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2013, 6:03 PM
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does this connect to the new hockey arena?
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  #327  
Old Posted Jan 12, 2013, 1:13 AM
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There has been no definitive location yet given for the new arena, but if it ends up at the location on Woodward, there would be no way it wouldn't be given a station.
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  #328  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2013, 2:02 AM
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Here it is...

Quote:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood brings $25 million in federal aid for M-1 rail project

By Matt Helms | Detroit Free Press

January 18, 2013

After decades of failure to move anywhere on a modernized public transit system, metro Detroit this morning won federal backing -- and crucial cash -- for a streetcar system on Woodward Avenue that supporters say will boost the rebirth of downtown and Midtown and lay groundwork for even more rail options in the coming years.

Today’s announcement by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that the federal government is awarding $25 million to the $140-million M-1 rail project -- a 3-mile streetcar line between downtown and New Center -- culminates a 40-year effort to bring Detroit on par with other big and medium-sized cities that are building light rail and streetcar systems for economic growth and to create transportation options other than the automobile for walkable, vital neighborhoods and downtown cores.

The largely private-sector M-1 Rail plan had backing from some of Detroit’s wealthiest corporate leaders and its civic and philanthropic sectors; they raised $100 million for the project. LaHood said that support was crucial to the Obama administration’s decision to back the project.

...

M-1 Rail officials say construction could begin as early as this summer, and the rail line could be operating by late 2015.

...
And now from Gilbert:

Quote:
Gilbert promises 'retail action' along Detroit M-1 rail route

By Louis Aguilar | The Detroit News

January 18, 2013

Detroit — Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures is working hard to ensure "a lot of new retail" will be open on and along Woodward Avenue by the time the proposed M-1 Rail debuts its 3.3-mile line from downtown to New Center.

"I'd like to coordinate that with a lot of new retail action at the exact same time," Gilbert said during a Friday morning interview at Wayne State University.

The founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, Inc., the nation's largest online mortgage lender, attended the announcement by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that the M-1 Rail will receive $25 million in federal funding. The money will support construction of a planned line that costs an estimated $137 million. M-1 officials say construction could begin as early as this summer and the rail could be running by late 2015.

...

And Gilbert, one of downtown's major employers and private land owners, said his group has "definitely gotten commitments" from retailers who will be ready for business when the M-1 debuts.

"That's the goal as we work behind the scene, versus just taking a rough shot of opening one (retail store) at a time here and there," Gilbert said. He would not specify which retailers have made commitments.


Since August 2010, Gilbert's portfolio of companies has moved 7,000 workers downtown.

...
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  #329  
Old Posted Jan 19, 2013, 4:39 AM
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I understand that M-1 is going to take till 2015 to get up and running, but Gilbert? Weren't we already supposed to hear by now the details of his retail plan? I won't complain too much because at least he's doing something, but it'd be nice to get some specifics going!
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  #330  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2013, 8:39 AM
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Looks like roadway boring will begin in the coming weeks with a tentative construction start in the late summer...

Quote:
M-1 Rail is going to happen this summer, bet on it

By Model D Media

January 22, 2012

The journey of bringing a streetcar line back to Woodward Avenue in Detroit bears more resemblance to a roller coaster than a tram in recent years. But feel free to breathe a sigh of relief, Detroit. The train is about to pull into the station. Bet on it.

...

Matt Cullen, CEO of M-1 Rail, says the creation of the regional transit authority was the last major hurdle for giving the green light to the project. He expects the final engineering work and construction bidding to be done in the first half of this year. Construction will begin late this summer and take two years to complete.

Megan Owens, executive director of the transit-advocate non-profit Transportation Riders United, echoes Cullen's words and optimism. She adds that drills for the project will go into the ground before shovels. "They're going to start boring to find out of there is anything in the way in the ground," Owens says.

She adds that the $25 million is the last foreseeable major hurdle for the project. M-1 Rail has funding for both construction and operation for the next several years.

...
BTW, not Detroit-specific, but Amtrak's Michigan Service keepings growing. It's grow even more if there was more capacity in the services:

Quote:
Amtrak ridership in Michigan hit all-time high in 2012

By Gary Heinlein | The Detroit News

January 22, 2013

Lansing — Michigan's three passenger rail lines hit an all-time high of nearly 800,000 riders in 2012, up more than 12,000 from the previous year, the Michigan Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

The Wolverine line between Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo and Chicago was tops with 495,277 passengers. The Blue Water, between Port Huron, East Lansing and Chicago, carried 187,991 passengers. There were 109,501 passengers last year on the Pere Marquette between Grand Rapids and Chicago.

Last year's 792,769 riders continue a trend toward growing use of the three passenger lines over the past few years, according to transportation department statistics.

MDOT said Amtrak ran extra trains on the Wolverine route during the Thanksgiving holiday because of high demand. The rail agency also bolstered passenger capacity and train frequencies during the Christmas to New Year's period.

Amtrak reported record revenues of $27.8 million from the Michigan routes, which will receive an $8 million state subsidy this fiscal year.
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  #331  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2013, 12:32 AM
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I'm glad to hear that at least something is moving forward, but it sounds like it was decided to go with just a streetcar instead of light rail? Then, if the line would ever get extended, riders would have to change modes of transportation at New Center?
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  #332  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2013, 1:10 AM
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Don't draw a false distinction between the two modes. They are basically the same thing, and completely compatible with each other so long as the concrete slab under the tracks is thick enough to bear the weight of a heavier vehicle and the power supply is robust enough.

Chances are that light-rail trains from the suburbs could simply hook into the streetcar tracks south of New Center with a minimal amount of modification.

The only problem is stop spacing. The streetcar will probably have stops every 3-4 blocks, whereas you only want light rail stops every 8 blocks; the suburban riders don't want or need to make every local stop. You could run two service patterns (local/express) on the same tracks, but only if the frequencies are low, or else the fast express will catch up to the slow local.

Historically, though, many cities ran interurbans (essentially light rail) and streetcars on the same tracks. The best American example is LA, where they had the Red and Yellow cars.
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  #333  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2013, 1:30 AM
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Alright. Thanks for the explanation! It will be nice to see this under-construction, let-alone actually opened. Now...we just need a train from Grand Rapids to Detroit, and my family could have an all-rail, car-free trip to Downtown Detroit! Pipe dream?
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  #334  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2013, 8:44 AM
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The whole thing is kind of a mess, at the moment, as neither Bing nor Snyder wanted any rail as part of the regional system...despite the regional transit master plan the regional planning agency passed calling for light rail on Woodward at least up to Eight Mile. As it stands, M-1 is basically doing it alone on their little feifdom down on Lower Woodward. Snyder only wants BRT - the regional transit authority bills passed only called for "rolling rapid transit." And quite frankly, this is why M-1 is rushing, because if Snyder had his way, even Woodward would only be a BRT line, which is what his own (sketchy) transit plan calls for.
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  #335  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2013, 8:10 PM
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I'm shocked but still skeptical. Now all they need to do is Jefferson, Gratiot, Michigan ave. ...
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  #336  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2013, 8:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tallboy66 View Post
I'm shocked but still skeptical. Now all they need to do is Jefferson, Gratiot, Michigan ave. ...
What do you mean? Do what?

And what is there to be skeptical about? This thing is moving right now.
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  #337  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2013, 4:02 AM
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I guess my reply never made it. So.... Houston has one line and it has 2.1 Mill. 3x the pop. of Detroit
Math...at a half hour train schedule in Detroit at $2 a ride it equals 5000 riders per day. Based at paying 4 drivers,cash fare day schedule only. No weekends,nights,admin. or maint. fees.
Just build 500 HP cars and be quiet.
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  #338  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2013, 5:29 AM
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u wot m8?
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  #339  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2013, 8:51 AM
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Repost from SSC:

Quote:
M-1 Rail has posted their very detailed (96-page) Request for Proposal on their website. I've only skimmed it, but a few things of note:

1. They want to use Siemens S-70 (UltraShorts) for the cars on a standard gauge track:


Siemens

The reason they gave for using this as the model is that, first, cost, and secondly, if they ever decide to expand the line north of the current streetcar line, they could operate that part of the line as a light rail as opposed to purchasing cars that could only work as trams/streetcars. San Diego uses this model as part of their system. Anyone know which other services use this model car in the United States?

2. The tracks will run mostly second-lane-out from the curb, but will veer over to the curve at specific places along the line. Also, the three northern stations will be in the center of the road, as will the station at the terminus in the median at Larned on the south end. There will be a crossover at Sibley, and various sidings for emergencies and special events along Woodward.

3. They anticipate sharing the road with a Woodward BRT, instead of being the sole mode of mass transit on this section of Woodward. They talk of duel use stations, with the BRT, of course, using fewer stations. So they envision the BRT operating as an express service.
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  #340  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2013, 3:35 PM
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From Wiki, these are the US cities that use the S70:

Quote:
United States

  • Houston METRORail, Texas: 18 units purchased, with delivery complete in late 2004. 19 additional units on order, procured using Salt Lake City options, to be delivered starting in late 2012. The original cars are the long variant; the new cars are the shorter variant as used in Salt Lake.
  • Metro Transit Minneapolis, Minnesota: 41 purchased with 58 options, delivery to begin in 2012.
  • San Diego Trolley, California: 11 92 feet (28 m) units purchased in first order, with delivery complete in July 2005. A second order, for 57 81 feet (24.7 m) cars, was placed in October 2009,[6] and all vehicles are projected to be in service by 2013.[4]
  • LYNX Blue Line (CATS), Charlotte, North Carolina, United States: 16 units purchased, in service since November 2007. Four additional units purchased in 2008 and in service by March 2010 to keep up with higher than expected ridership.[7]
  • MAX, Portland, Oregon: 22 units purchased. Order for 21 cars announced on May 11, 2006;[8] later expanded by one car. Entered service starting in August 2009.[9] Order placed 2012 for another 18 cars.[10]
  • The Tide Light Rail, Norfolk, Virginia: 9 cars, ordered in 2007. First cars delivered October 2009.[11] Entered service with the opening of the Norfolk system, in 2011.
  • Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City, Utah: 77 units ordered; all vehicles projected to be in service by 2012. The order also includes an option for 180 additional cars.[3][7]
  • Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, Georgia: 4 cars, ordered in 2011.[12] In May 2011 Siemens announced that it had won the $17.2 million contract to build the four streetcars that will run on the new Downtown Loop line. According to Siemens, the first vehicle was expected to be delivered in September 2012. They would be built in Sacramento but with major components, including the propulsion system, assembled at Siemens' plant in Alpharetta, Metro Atlanta.[13]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siemens_S70

I've only ever used the LYNX line in Charlotte, which if I remember correctly was mostly in its own right of way.

I think the M-1 planners are approaching this the right way. Very thoughtful. And with the BRT language, maybe the state will stay out of the way.
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