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  #641  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2017, 6:33 PM
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http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...-new-mdot-plan
  • I-75 project cut by 10 years. Originally expected to be complete by 2030 will now be complete by 2020.
  • Half the length of the project will be privately funded ($1 billion dollars). Construction companies will pay the upfront costs while the state repays them over 25 years.
  • There will be two segments/phases to the project instead of the original several. 8 Mile to 13 Mile will be the first segment and 13 Mile to Coolidge will be the second segment.

Construction is also currently halted and will resume next summer with this new plan. The Square Lake Road - I-75 interchange is completed and open.
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  #642  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2017, 3:12 AM
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It almost sounds too good to be true, which is why it has me wondering how much more this is going to cost than initially estimated? Because these construction companies and contrators aren't speeding this up out of their concern for the public. If this is such a win-win, why hasn't MDOT done this on other large projects before? MDOT's not some unsophisticated highway builder.

Anyway, apart from my concerns with the financing, what I like about this is the mention of an underground tunnel for drainage. Not only will it prevent freeway flooding, but will allow MDOT to store the water and released it in a manner that's better for local waterways.
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  #643  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2017, 8:30 PM
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I just did a search of obstruction evaluations over at the Federal Aviation Administration for Detroit, and the Gordie Howe International Bridge is listed at 816'. If true, it will be a behemoth, and the tallest bridge by structural height in the US if I'm not mistaken.

https://oeaaa.faa.gov/oeaaa/external...28681257&row=0
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  #644  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2017, 3:49 AM
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Wow, hadn't realized they'd already filed this with the FAA. They've been holding information about the project very close to the vest. But, yeah, if it ends up being this tall it'd be far-and-away the tallest bridge in the country. The current tallest are the Golden Gate Bridge towers at 746 feet.

And, at 816 feet, it'd likely rival the proposed Hudson block tower, which is now plannef ro over 800 feet.
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  #645  
Old Posted Oct 10, 2017, 6:59 PM
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Quote:
Bedrock Runs Driverless Shuttles in Downtown Detroit This Week

October 9th, 2017
Deadline Detroit



Dan Gilbert's Bedrock company has launched a week-long test pilot program in downtown Detroit using driverless vehicles.

May Mobility, an Ann Arbor startup, is operating two six-seat vehicles that carry Bedrock employees between Cadillac Square and the Bricktown Parking Garage, Jennifer Ann Wilson of WXYZ reports. An engineer will be in the driver's seat as a precaution.

The shuttles will go up to 25 mph from 7-10 p.m. through Friday.

"We're learning all about the environments where customers want to operate these vehicles," May Mobility CEO Edwin Olson said. "That will tell us what tricks the vehicle needs to learn next."
http://www.deadlinedetroit.com/artic...roit_this_week
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  #646  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 4:20 PM
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Quote:
Judge deals Morouns another legal blow in bridge battle

By CHAD LIVENGOOD
Crain's Detroit Business
October 11, 2017


An artist's conception of the Gordie Howe International Bridge that will span the Detroit River, linking Detroit and Windsor. The effort to build the bridge has experienced delays.

-Wayne County Circuit Court Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr. rules in favor of MDOT
-Judge says governor had the authority to enter agreement with Canada
-Ruling is latest blow to Moroun's attempt to block the bridge


A Wayne County judge on Wednesday dealt the owners of the Ambassador Bridge another legal blow, ruling that Gov. Rick Snyder's 2012 agreement with the Canadian government to build a new publicly-owned span over the Detroit River was legal.

Wayne County Circuit Court Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr. ruled in the Michigan Department of Transportation's favor that the governor had the authority to enter into an interlocal governmental agreement with Canada and Ontario to build the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

Colombo's ruling, made from the bench Wednesday afternoon, is the latest legal setback for Ambassador Bridge owner and billionaire trucking mogul Manuel "Matty" Moroun's Detroit International Bridge Co. and related companies that own land in Detroit's Delray neighborhood.

The Moroun companies have been fighting MDOT's attempt to take about 20 parcels they own in Delray that lies in the pathway of the planned $4.5 billion bridge project.

"Progress is continuing on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, which will create jobs and enhance commerce with our most important trading partner," Snyder said Thursday in a statement. :With yesterday’s ruling affirming the legality of the project agreement and the ongoing progress on acquisition, demolition and utility relocation, things remain well underway for construction to start next year.”

Mike Cox, attorney for the DIBC and other Moroun companies, confirmed late Wednesday that Colombo ruled in MDOT's favor in a ruling issued from the bench.

The ruling does not end Moroun's challenge of the condemnation proceedings on grounds that a second Detroit River bridge is unnecessary and that MDOT has violated state law and the constitution while buying up land on behalf of the Canadian government, Cox said.

....

Moroun family businesses have continued to litigate over the legality of the crossing agreement, even while the Canadian government recently gave their bridge company a conditional permit to build a six-lane replacement span to the 88-year-old Ambassador Bridge.

The Canadian transportation agency's permit comes with multiple conditions, including a requirement that the Morouns dismantle the Ambassador Bridge within five years of the new bridge going online.

But Transport Canada's conditional approval of DIBC's Canadian subsidiary to build a new bridge has sent jitters across Canada given that country's long and litigious history of battling Moroun over his private operation of the Ambassador Bridge.

....

"It's easy to slow these projects down. In fact, you don't have to do much of anything to slow them down," Raitt told CBC News. "The harder part is actually keeping the action going and that's what my job was to do. You have to be on it every single day and, if you're not, then you're going to have slipping timelines."

In February, Trudeau and President Donald Trump issued a joint statement calling for an "expeditious" construction of the Howe bridge, saying that a new bridge "will serve as a vital economic link between our two countries."

MDOT's lawyers have repeatedly accused Moroun of delaying the project with a steady stream of litigation.
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...-bridge-battle
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  #647  
Old Posted Oct 28, 2017, 6:13 PM
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Quote:
With Amazon bid on table, SMART pitches new regional transit plan for Detroit area
Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press. Oct. 28, 2017.




Regional transit may get a new shot of life in metro Detroit if a proposal by the SMART bus system takes root.

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, metro Detroit's suburban bus system, is pitching a limited-stop, more frequent bus service that would connect Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties to the city of Detroit and Detroit Metro Airport.

....

The proposal, which Cramer said was not directly related to the Amazon competition, is expected to cost $14 million annually to operate with little in the way of startup costs. Following upcoming community workshops and public hearings to gather input, the service would launch in January. SMART says it is able to free up money for service improvements because it will be finished with new bus purchases that came as a result of its millage renewal in 2014.

Specific stop locations have not been determined, but there are broad outlines. Cramer called the proposal a concept at this point.

The service would run on Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan avenues, connecting downtown Detroit with Metro Airport, Pontiac and Troy and north of Mt. Clemens to 23 Mile in Chesterfield Township. Service would aim for 15 minutes between buses during peak hours, (although it would be slightly longer on Michigan Avenue than the other routes), operate seven days per week and offer Wi-Fi on buses with stops every 1 to 2 miles. Some current routes would be eliminated, according to Cramer, but only if they essentially duplicate what the new service would offer. The service would not connect to Washtenaw County as the RTA plan had envisioned.

....

The new service would mean the end for the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan-branded RefleX service, which is a limited-stop service run jointly by SMART and the Detroit Department of Transportation.

That service has been held up as an example of long-needed cooperation between the two bus systems, which had not always been known to work together well. It's unknown whether the SMART proposal would adversely affect those relations (officials with both insisted relations are good). It's also not clear how it would affect the RTA's efforts to again pursue approval of a regional transit master plan.

...

Despite this being planned as a SMART-only operation, DDOT Director Dan Dirks said the two bus systems have a good relationship, a position echoed by Cramer. Dirks said it's early in the process, and DDOT will have to see how the plans develop.
http://www.freep.com/story/news/2017...lan/808124001/
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  #648  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2017, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Federal court rejects Morouns' appeal to stop Gordie Howe bridge

By ANNALISE FRANK
Crain's Detroit Business
November 22, 2017

-U.S. appeals court rejects Moroun appeal to stop construction of Gordie Howe bridge
-Ruling affirms Michigan-Canada deal
-Another legal setback for the Ambassador Bridge owner

The Tuesday ruling affirmed a deal between Gov. Rick Snyder and Canada to build the new Detroit-Windsor span over the Detroit River near the existing Ambassador Bridge, The Detroit News reported.

The U.S. Court of Appeals Washington D.C. Circuit's Chief Judge Judith Rogers wrote the opinion, agreeing with a state appeals court that also upheld the Michigan-Canada agreement.

....

The ruling is another legal setback for Ambassador Bridge owner and billionaire trucking mogul Manuel "Matty" Moroun's Detroit International Bridge Co. and related companies that own land in the Delray neighborhood in southwest Detroit.

The Moroun companies have been fighting the Michigan Department of Transportation's attempt to take about 20 parcels they own in Delray that lies in the pathway of the planned $4.5 billion bridge project.

Moroun family businesses have continued to litigate over the legality of the Gordie Howe bridge project, even while the Canadian government recently gave their bridge company a conditional permit to build a six-lane replacement span to the 88-year-old Ambassador Bridge.
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...ie-howe-bridge
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  #649  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2017, 2:01 AM
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Wow. I tried to read that Court Opinion, linked to from Snyder's tweet in the article. It's tough to follow at some points, at least for my plebian brain. One of Moroun's appeals actually contends that,

Quote:
...the approval by the Secretary of State of the Crossing Agreement was contrary to Michigan law, and was therefore not an authorized approval under Section 3 of the IBA, and was, in any event, arbitrary and capricious.
I didn't know people actually used 'arbitrary and capricious' as a legal argument. Regardless, the Court determined that the company couldn't actually show how the law was broken, and it affirmed the previous rulings on the other appeals as well. A good step forward, and hopefully a chapter closed on this saga.
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  #650  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2017, 4:06 PM
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Not exactly clear if the other of the two options is to leave 375 as is but if i recall there was talk of remaking the 375 terminus at Jefferson into a more normal intersection and continuing 375 as a smaller surface street down to atwater street.

Quote:
MDOT to focus on 2 'practical alternatives' for I-375 in Detroit
Open house-style meeting set for public to review plans, provide input

By TYLER CLIFFORD
Crain's Detroit Business
November 28, 2017


One plan for I-375 is to remake it as two one-way surface streets in the location of the existing service drives with potential property for interim reuse as multi-use trail.

-MDOT to host meeting on I-375 on Dec. 5
-Officials will present alternatives for the Detroit freeway
-Two alternatives will be evaluated in the 2018 environmental assessment

The Michigan Department of Transportation will present its two "practical alternatives" for I-375 in Detroit to the public Dec. 5.
The open house-style meeting will begin at 4 p.m. at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Adventure Center at 1802 Atwater St. MDOT and city of Detroit Planning Department officials and consultants will present the plans and hear public feedback in a pair of presentations at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The state, city and Federal Highway Administration will analyze the proposals in its environmental assessment to be completed next year. MDOT says changes to the freeway are necessary to meet the progress of developments downtown and improve the existing transportation infrastructure.

The plans stem from a list of six alternatives yielded after MDOT, the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the city of Detroit in 2014 commissioned the Planning and Environmental Linkage study that revealed the freeway is outdated and in poor condition. One of those proposals would turn the freeway, which connects Jefferson Avenue to I-75, into a surface street.

About 80,000 vehicles use I-375 daily, the state said. The freeway is a main east-side link to I-96, the Lodge Freeway and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

In January 2016, officials delayed a decision on whether to radically reshape I-375 or do nothing with the milelong stretch beyond maintaining it. MDOT said at the time that said any future decision on the I-375 options may be influenced by the East Jefferson/Riverfront study by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Eastern Market's long-range plan, redevelopment of the Brewster Douglass site and Gratiot Avenue possibly becoming a bus rapid transit route.
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...375-in-detroit
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  #651  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2017, 4:51 PM
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Posted this over at Skyscrapercity in the summer. This one looks like Option #6, which I was not excited about, at all. In my mind, the whole point was to bring the roadway to grade, and simply reusing it as a trail is duplicating the function of the Dequindre Cut literally a few blocks east. Kind of dreading to see what the other option is...

#1: This is the as-is option with few improvements. The most notable is a widened off-ramps.



#2: Same as #1, but this actually extends the freeway beyond Jefferson with a connector. This one also adds bikelanes to the service drives.



#3: This one totally reconstructs the freeway shifting it west south of Lafayette also bringing it at-grade south of Lafayette. It also keeps the riverfront connector in #2 and shifts Jefferson northward opening up new land for development between the avenue and Woodbridge.



#4: This option gets to the most radical point of elevating the entire street to a surface street south of Gratiot, shifting the now-street a full block to the east opening up lots of land for redevelopment. This also keeps shifting Jefferson north opening up land to the south. This option would also include a significant non-motorized path running adjacent and east to the new boulevard.



#5: This option is the similar to #4, but shifts the new boulevard to the west opening up land to the east.



#6: The final option keeps the freeway footprint, but turns it into non-motorized path similiar in function to the Dequindre Cut. The former freeway is instead rerouted onto the service drives.

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  #652  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2017, 5:18 PM
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At least it gets rid of the awful Jefferson interchange, that is an absolute must. Other than that it still looks like a fuck up. I thought MDOT wanted to get rid of the bridges, what is the point of keeping them for some below grade bike lane? How is this more practical than developable land? This is really simple and yet they're still fucking up, what is wrong with their brains?
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  #653  
Old Posted Nov 28, 2017, 5:26 PM
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It's less MDOT than that they are actually listening to the criticism at the open houses. I really hate to say that it's bad they got the stakeholders involved...but it's bad they did that. lol At first it appeared like everyone agreed on taking the freeway out, but then the corporations near the freeway started pushing back against the idea.

Anyway, an update on on the end of the RTA's RefleX routes - the failing of the transit plan meant they don't have the money to continue them - but with SMART actually picking them up and making them even better:

Quote:
SMART recently released it's reworking of the RefleX routes. With the RTA unable to continue them, SMART will take them over. The three corridors are:

1. Gratiot: Downtown Detroit to 23rd Mile - Chesterfield Township or North River Park-and-Ride (Express)
2. Michigan: Downtown Detroit to Detroit Metro (Express)
3. Woodward: Downtown Detroit to Telegraph Road via Maple Road (Limited), Downtown Detroit to Royal Oak via Huntington Woods (Local), Downtown Detroit to Pontiac (Express), Downtown Detroit to Troy-Civic Center (Express), Downtown Detroit to Troy-Somerset via Birmingham (Local).

Maps

And a rendering of the downtown rerouting for the lines:



Some of the services will come in at a frequency as low as 15 minutes during peak time, and all express services will operate from 5AM to 1AM.
This is a pretty big deal as it vastly increasing frequencies on the current RefleX services, and it's SMART first major service expansion in nearly a decade. Frequency that were every 45 minutes - how they even got away with calling this "express" service, I will never know - will come down to every 15 minutes at peak and 30 minutes off-peak. It'll run seven days a week. The other huge thing is that it will allow SMART to "normally" operate in the city, whereas SMART has only been able to operate peak service into and out of Detroit.

Along with replacing the RTA's RefleX service along these routes, it will also eliminate a confusing mix of SMART limited and local services. On Woodward, only 450/460 locals remain with the new service replacing the 445/475 & 465 limiteds. On Gratiot, only the 560 local will remain with the new service replacing the 565 limited.
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Last edited by LMich; Nov 28, 2017 at 5:41 PM.
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  #654  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2017, 10:43 AM
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Another update on this one from the local media. This one focuses on the Michigan route to the airport:

With the RTA having to phase out the RefleX limited-stop bus service, SMART will take over and continue to release new details on the three new lines. This will be SMART's first major expansion of service in years. Most notably is the Michigan Avenue route, which will be the first limited-stop, direct-connection to the airport. SMART will also have a special branding for these three new services.

Quote:
New bus service will get you to Metro Airport from downtown in 1 hour

By Eric D. Lawrence | Detroit Free Press

December 1, 2017

The limited-stop bus service planned for launch in January by the Detroit area's suburban bus system should provide a direct connection to Detroit Metro Airport from downtown in about one hour.

The new Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation service, which would run on Woodward, Gratiot and Michigan avenues, would also provide more frequent buses than RefleX, the limited-stop service it is slated to replace. But the direct connection from downtown to the airport in a limited-stop format marks a significant improvement over current public transit offerings.
As was said when this was first announced a few weeks ago, this will actually be a huge improvement over RefleX, which itself was a fairly popular service. RefleX, although it has proven to be popular, actually has low frequency with buses running only every 45 minutes even during peak service. These new SMART routes will have frequencies as low as 15 minutes peak on Woodward and Gratiot, and 30 minutes peak on Michigan Avenue.

This is really kind of exciting. Between this and DDOT adding back tons of service since the massive cuts the city made during bankruptcy, Detroit might have a solid, regional bus system just yet. And if the region can ever get that millage base for the RTA - it very, very narrowly failed last year - then it's assured. Speaking of which, the RTA is still trying to decide if they want to put the millage back on the ballot during next year's election. Even absent of that, maybe they can get frequencies down to 10 minutes or below during peak.

The new service starts on January 1st.

I'm very proud that even absent regional funding or even new local funding, that the City of Detroit has made DDOT one its top service priorities, and that SMART finally seems to recognize that it's routes connecting the cities and suburbs should be their priority.
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  #655  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2017, 9:15 AM
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I guess it appears my cynicism was misplaced this time.

Quote:

MDOT I-375 study backs boulevard plans

By Annalise Frank | Crain's Detroit Business

December 3, 2017

The Michigan Department of Transportation's study of I-375 reimagines the freeway as a boulevard connecting I-75 with Detroit's central business district and waterfront.

The department chose to move forward with two "practical alternatives" to the current highway setup, which has degraded and no longer meets the needs of a city with a newly bustling downtown area, said Jonathan Loree, a senior project manager for MDOT.
Option #4



Option #5



Maybe new ideas are finally getting their day at MDOT.

The next steps are a public meeting on Tuesday, followed by a month or two of review of the draft environmental assessment. By spring, they will either select a preferred alternative from the two refined versions of what we see above, followed by a public reveiw of that decision. Design and construction would begin in 2019 with a 2022 completion. Hopefully, they are able to pick a preferred alternative this spring to speed up the entire process.

Along with turning the freeway into a boulevard, the chosen alternative for Gratiot Avenue would eliminate the largely useless Gratiot Connector just east of the I-75/I-375 interchange opening up more room for development south of Eastern Market and making Gratiot Avenue more friendly to both auto and pedestrian traffic.

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  #656  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2017, 4:04 PM
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Interesting idea.

Quote:
Oakland County turns to businesses to create connected vehicle infrastructure

By DUSTIN WALSH
Crain's Detroit Business
December 06, 2017


In its RFP to create a connected vehicle infrastructure to cover its nearly 5,600 miles of roadways, Oakland County encourages businesses to consider the collective of technologies that are already ready for implementation, including C-ITS.


-Oakland County issues RFP for connected vehicle infrastructure
-Goal is to create public-private partnership
-County would issue safety communications while partner found new revenue streams


Oakland County is turning to the corporate world for a plan to prioritize road safety while by creating a connected vehicle infrastructure to cover its nearly 5,600 miles of roadways.
The county issued a request for proposals late last month seeking bids from businesses, individually or as a collective, to create a system of short-range communication technology for use on the county's infrastructure, such as stop lights, etc.

Matt Gibb, deputy county executive, said the county hopes to control and own the system created by a private sector partner, where the county uses the connected infrastructure bandwidth to improve roadway safety, while allowing the third-party partner to create its own revenue streams.

"We're asking how we can monetize this data," Gibb said. "We feel this approach allows us to own the data and prioritize safety, but also license the infrastructure to an operator who then can find new ways to make it valuable."

The reason the county needs a third-party operator is simple: cost. Gibb estimates installing connected infrastructure, such as sensors, would cost the county $10,000 per intersection and about $40,000 per mile.

"I don't have $240 million to do this," Gibb said. "That's why companies like (General Motors Co.) are bypassing connectivity in favor of autonomous because governments are moving too slow. But we have cooperation among government entities (in the county) and we're trying to figure out whether we can monetize the network in a way that a public-private partnership pays for itself."

The county is looking for solutions to that question from the private sector, but Gibb believes some possible ideas include a subscription service that could include dedicated connected vehicle commuter lanes or advertising-based push notifications to drivers.

"If you could pay a modest fee to cut your commute, would you? What if you could pay $2 a month and get deals from that Starbucks before you hit that traffic jam that both save your commute time and money?," Gibb speculated. "But really this is about putting Oakland County ahead of the curve on this technology. If the government mandates that we have to send safety warnings to vehicles, what are we going to do? How the hell do we pay for it? Unless we find a revenue stream, we're going to get clobbered."
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...nected-vehicle
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