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  #61  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 4:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
And federal dollars are only appropriated for a handful of applicants each year. The primary criteria is ridership per $$.

I think this line could generate decent ridership, but I am not sure if could generate decent ridership relative to other proposed projects in other U.S. cities. This definitely seems like an open question.
I'm fairly optimistic with even the lowish ridership projections that given the administration we have coupled with "feel-good" aspect of granting Detroit its first line in years, that this will make it in any year start-up is proposed.

But, even for the less optimistic, one would have to know what other transit agencies are requesting start-ups and expansions next year to be skeptical about the chances of DTOGS & M1-Rail.
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  #62  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 5:07 AM
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And federal dollars are only appropriated for a handful of applicants each year. The primary criteria is ridership per $$.
Not exactly. The Federal government cares mostly about ridership per Federal dollar. Local authorities get to decide what percentage of the total cost to request from the Feds, up to 80%. By increasing the local share and decreasing the Federal share, they can make their projects more competitive on a Federal level.

According to the article, the total cost is $371 million, with a $220 million local share and $150 million Federal. This means that the cost will be split roughly 60% local, 40% federal.

If Michigan had decided to request the maximum 80% of the total cost from the Feds, then its "Federal cost-effectiveness" would be cut in half, and its prospects in Washington would be much bleaker.

Essentially, USDOT wants to fund as many transit projects as possible under limited funding, so they tend to approve projects with higher local shares. However, since not all projects can be funded, the FTA must still choose winners and losers, which is why they are concerned at some level with overall cost-effectiveness and, to some degree, geographic fairness. That last bit is an important advantage for Detroit, which currently has very little in the way of rail transit.

Political concerns are also important; a state whose senators and congressmen express strong interest in specific transit projects are likely to see those projects funded. Obama's administration has showed signs of a progressive (and expensive) urban policy, which would serve to greatly benefit a place like Detroit.
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  #63  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 5:35 AM
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Originally Posted by LMich View Post
Wait, doesn't the article say that DTOG is expecting M1-Rail to use its own start up money for their plan? That's what's confusing me.
The idea is that the city would be able to claim the $120 million as part of the local match, but wouldn't specifically use that $120 million in the construction of the New Center-8 Mile light rail line. The $120 million would go solely to the construction of the streetcar line from New Center to Downtown.

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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I still don't understand any of this. I have never heard of a privately-funded line, and I don't get how the two can coordinate.
During the earliest years of streetcar systems, many of them were constructed and operated by private companies. This isn't any different.

The two will coordinate in the sense that the M-1 rail will follow the timetable of the DDOT light rail line to ensure that DDOT will get the federal dollars to construct the light rail line. It will then build and operate the privately-funded line separately from the light rail line (which will be operated by DDOT), but will likely coordinate service. Eventually the idea is to turn the privately-funded line over to a regional authority. (Hopefully by them both DDOT and SMART will be part of that regional authority.)
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  #64  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2009, 9:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hudkina View Post
The idea is that the city would be able to claim the $120 million as part of the local match, but wouldn't specifically use that $120 million in the construction of the New Center-8 Mile light rail line. The $120 million would go solely to the construction of the streetcar line from New Center to Downtown.
So, in effect, both parties will put there money into the same wallet, but in different compartments in the wallet?

One of my biggest gripes about this is that there should have never been two different nearly-competing plans in the first place. There had to have been some way that the private partners could have worked through DDOT to make this seamless.
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  #65  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2009, 10:51 AM
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Well, it looks like the M1-Rail (private line) is moving forward:

Quote:


U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit

U.S. House bill supports Detroit light rail project

Deb Price and Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

December 11, 2009

Washington -- Detroit may be one step closer to a light rail system after the U.S. House passed a provision in a bill Thursday clearing a key funding hurdle for the city.

The provision means that $125 million private donors would pay for one part of the $430 million project could be counted toward the match the city has to come up with to get federal funding for a two-part rail system that would run along Woodward from downtown to Eight Mile, said U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit.

"I am confident that we will be able to break ground on this project by summer," she said.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing called the action "an important development for the future of mass transit" in the city.

"This legislation would allow once and for all a true public-private partnership to be formed for light rail on Woodward Avenue," he said.

The provision, which Kilpatrick secured in a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, was passed by the U.S. House on Thursday by a vote 221-202.

The plan for Detroit's light rail system would consist of two separately funded sections; one financed by private sources that would run 3.4 miles from downtown Detroit to Grand Boulevard. The second would run from Grand Boulevard to Eight Mile, with 80 percent picked up by the federal government and the remaining 20 percent locally. The cost of the project is an estimated $430 million.

...
The next step is working out the formal details of the regional mass transit authority at the state level.
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  #66  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2009, 12:32 PM
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I still feel, at very least, a little awkward about this combination. Transit is supposed to be a public good, not for private interests. I don't know in what form we'll see it, but I predict private business screwing Detroit on this, somehow.
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  #67  
Old Posted Dec 14, 2009, 11:47 AM
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The bill passed, so this is now official:

Quote:

Detroit light rail plan gets boost

Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

Detroit is taking a giant step forward in its quest for a light rail system on Woodward with Sunday's U.S. Senate's approval of President Barack Obama's $1 trillion omnibus spending bill.

A provision in the bill allows a $125 million private investment in the rail system to be used as matching funds by the city when it eventually builds its portion of the $425 million project.

...

Under the current plan, private investors would build the first segment, a 3.4-mile stretch with 12 stops.

Eventually, the city would build a second leg, which would run from Grand Boulevard to Eight Mile.

The federal government would pay for 60 percent of the project, with Detroit funding the remainder.

tgreenwood@detnews.com (313) 222-2023
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  #68  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMich View Post
So, in effect, both parties will put there money into the same wallet, but in different compartments in the wallet?

One of my biggest gripes about this is that there should have never been two different nearly-competing plans in the first place. There had to have been some way that the private partners could have worked through DDOT to make this seamless.
In other words, if they worked together from the start the entire thing could have been built at once, with the private money being used as the local matching funds?
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  #69  
Old Posted Dec 16, 2009, 9:19 AM
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You know, I'm not willing to go that far. I say that because we still aren't sure where the money for the publically developed line will come from. I can see why the private group wanted to get going, because they are very much close to having the funds to develop their portion of the line. A regional authority still hasn't been created, yet, and without that, we don't yet know how the development and management of the line will be funded. It's why most people have mixed feelings on how this has played out, still.

In this case, the privately raised $125 million is being used as the matching funds for the city's (public) project whenever it starts. It's all very strange and convoluted.
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  #70  
Old Posted Dec 30, 2009, 8:21 AM
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Another small step forward...

Quote:

Detroit lawmaker to introduce bills to establish regional mass transit authority

By Bill Shea / Crain's Detroit Business

Dec. 16, 2009

State Rep. Bert Johnson will introduce legislation Thursday that would establish a regional mass transit authority for metro Detroit despite concern from Mayor Dave Bing’s administration.

Johnson, D-Detroit, said he wants the bills introduced before the Legislature leaves for the year at the end of the week, saying that federal transportation funding will be lost to elsewhere if action isn’t taken soon.

...

The three counties were able to reach an accord on the bulk of the proposed legislation, but the city objected because the 65-35 city-suburbs percentage split of federal transit funding set up in the 1980s would be replaced in the new legislation by tradition state and federal formulas.

“The city is right to be concerned for that. That’s a very valid point,” Johnson said, but added that it was something that needed to be worked out in the legislative process rather than delaying the bills altogether.

“These are imperfect ideas we hope to make more perfect” through negotiations during work group and committee meetings, he said.

...
I'm actually surprised to hear it is the city, now, and not the suburbs, holding this up as its traditionally been. I'm particularly surprised that Bing seems to care so much about the split and ceding some of Detroit's control when he's never much cared about this, before, on any other issue. The stereotypical view of the man is that he'd sell off all of Detroit for pennys if he could. Move, Bing; get out the way!
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  #71  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2009, 1:42 AM
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^ Yeah, Bing has been a disappointment in several areas thus far. It's clear that Detroit's transit system needs the additional cash from a Regional Transit Authority, but more importantly it needs the reform that will change its governing structure.
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  #72  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2009, 6:56 AM
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It's surprised me to such and extent that it seems to be Bing holding this up that I'm wondering if it's really him or someone else in the city's power structure using him as a proxy, or if there is something else deeper to this?

I mean, realistically, the funding split is something that could be easily ironed out. If it was done for Cobo, I'm not sure why he's being so adament about a regional authority for the transit system. This is not to mention that even when the funding split is changed, I can't imagine the county execs caring much about where transit money is spent since they generally don't care about transit, anyway. Sure, Patterson is going to push back on anything, but Ficano and whoever is in the revolving door of leadership that is Macomb County could either care less or genuinely want to be better connected to the central city.

It still remains unclear to me, unless I've just read over something in this years worth of talk, if SMART and DDOT are to be merged, of if an umbrella authority will simply exist over the top of them to dole out the money for them to subsequently dole out from their respective departments/organizations. It's always been my wish that they destroy BOTH of these departments and organizations and start from scratch, but I guess a step at a time is the more realistic outcome of this.
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  #73  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2010, 7:42 PM
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Any word if this will have all-day frequent service, or if it will be like some of the other newer systems with poor service frequency (esp. off-peak)?
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  #74  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2010, 3:10 AM
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I have some alternatives in my mind right now as to the woodward light rail, A little more complicated, but maybe more cooperative with street traffic and making Detroit more unique than all other cities with light rail.
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  #75  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2010, 3:29 AM
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Originally Posted by LMich View Post
It still remains unclear to me, unless I've just read over something in this years worth of talk, if SMART and DDOT are to be merged, of if an umbrella authority will simply exist over the top of them to dole out the money for them to subsequently dole out from their respective departments/organizations. It's always been my wish that they destroy BOTH of these departments and organizations and start from scratch, but I guess a step at a time is the more realistic outcome of this.
They need to be merged or started over from scratch, I'm sick of having to buy two different bus passes.
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  #76  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2010, 4:49 AM
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I have some alternatives in my mind right now as to the woodward light rail, A little more complicated, but maybe more cooperative with street traffic and making Detroit more unique than all other cities with light rail.
You'll probably say an extension of the People Mover or a subway, to which I'll laugh at either.
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  #77  
Old Posted Jan 24, 2010, 5:25 AM
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You'll probably say an extension of the People Mover or a subway, to which I'll laugh at either.
Actually I dislike it when people say they want an extension of the people mover, closed track circut is the best you can be offered. But the subway Idea, not so much a whole network, but I did ponder the idea of a "Underground Woodward" which would be from the New center to GCP and would feature a few lanes for a $.25 fare(like a tiny toll freeway to free up congestion) and a rail similar to the one found inside Metro Airport. Others include 3 new more modern, faster, efficient, and providing transit all around the "Inner-city/ NC area" connecting with downtown. Others include I-94/I-75 Light rail, Gratiot, Grand River, and Michigan Street car lines, and the expiramental "Interstate traveler" that would run from Ann Arbor to the NC and up Woodward to Pontiac. Not to mention many many other ideas
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  #78  
Old Posted Feb 25, 2010, 12:35 PM
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A little more info is being released about the Woodward line in a Detroit Free Press editorial, today:

Quote:
Cars would run every 10 minutes during peak travel times and every 15 minutes during off-peak periods, taking nearly 30 minutes each way. Service would operate for 20 hours a day during the week and 17 hours on weekends.
That answers the questions about the frequency and hours. It'll run for all but four hours of the day, it seems.
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Old Posted Feb 25, 2010, 5:08 PM
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A little more info is being released about the Woodward line in a Detroit Free Press editorial, today:



That answers the questions about the frequency and hours. It'll run for all but four hours of the day, it seems.
I hope those hours are between 2 and 6. What's the sense in having a light rail line if you can't pick up the drunks when the bars close?
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  #80  
Old Posted Apr 10, 2010, 5:58 AM
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Personally, I'm not sure I get this, particularly on Woodward when there are already plans for a light rail up to the city limits. These suburban leaders are trying to short-circuit/pre-empt the planning already taking place, at least on Woodward:

Quote:



Three-county rapid bus route endorsed

Charles E. Ramirez / The Detroit News

April 9, 2010

Mount Clemens -- The "Golden Triangle" -- a proposed rapid bus route that would link Macomb and Oakland counties with downtown Detroit -- got a boost Thursday from local business groups that say it will be cheaper and faster to establish than light rail.

The Macomb County and the Sterling Heights Regional Chambers of Commerce say they support a plan by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) to use buses on dedicated lanes along a 67-mile route.

The bus route need not compete with light rail projects in Metro Detroit, backers say. Rather, it could be a precursor for light-rail systems because it would establish the ridership required to draw federal funding for light rail, officials say.

"It's a practical, functional, fiscally responsible approach to mass transit that serves the whole region," said Macomb County Board of Commissioners chairman Paul Gieleghem, D-Clinton Township. "It will roll like (light) rail and feel like (light) rail."

Grace Shore, the Macomb County Chamber's CEO, called the Golden Triangle "a huge boon to the area."

"These kinds of systems are in place in other major metropolitan areas and we can't be left behind."

Wayne Oehmke, president of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce, agreed.

"If Macomb County wants to be a first-class community, we need to have first-class public transportation."

...
I don't buy that this wouldn't compete with the plans for light rail. To be sure, Gratiot has always been initially planned with BRT in mind, but Woodward was the one, true light rail route that had been identified. This is an excellent example of why the regional transit authority needs to get up and running right away, so we won't have every little city and township jocking to implement their single vision of what the transit system should be. If it was up to these suburban leaders, the whole system would be BRT, if even that.
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