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  #81  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2010, 1:39 PM
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Update to the light rail proposal at this thread:http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/show...70#post4868570
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  #82  
Old Posted Jul 23, 2010, 12:32 AM
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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expected to announce federal commitment to Woodward light rail

By Bill Shea CrainsDetroit Business
July 22, 2010
Ray LaHood, the U.S. Department of Transportation secretary, is expected to soon make an announcement in Detroit related to a financial commitment by the Obama administration for the $425 million Woodward Avenue light rail project.
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...FREE/100729955
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  #83  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2010, 3:48 AM
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  #84  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2010, 9:59 AM
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Just an update on the lat article posted...LaHood basically said the government is paying for the environmental impact study which I was under the impression had already wrapped up after having been told by DDOT last year that they'd already started it.

Anyway, that sets construction for next year.
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  #85  
Old Posted Oct 14, 2010, 7:01 AM
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It was reported back in March that the SEMCOG Commuter Rail (Ann Arbor-Detroit) had been put on hold, indefinitely, but it seems just a month later (and missed by all but Crain's) SEMCOG announced that they were still going through with a demonstration route to be held this month and for Detroit's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Does anyone know of which dates they are looking for in this month?
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  #86  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2010, 10:10 AM
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Speak of the devil, here's the update on the SEMCOG Commuter Rail project from Crain's:

Quote:
Word on Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail expected next week

By Bill Shea - Crain's Detroit Business

October 22, 2010

Organizers of a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail project expect to learn next week if $200 million in federal capital funding will be approved.

The Federal Rail Administration money (via the second round of funding set aside for high-speed rail projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) would be used to build new sidings, signals and make other corridor improvements, said Carmine Palombo, director of transportation planning for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments regional planning agency.

“It would eliminate the conflict between freight and passenger trains,” he said.

The 48-mile rail project, which would start with four daily round trips, is a joint effort by SEMCOG and the Michigan Department of Transportation and could be operational — if it gets the money — by the end of 2011, Palombo said.

“Probably the most optimistic scenario is the end of next year,” he said.

Amtrak will be contracted to operate the service.

Palombo gave backers an update on the project today.

A $12 million MDOT project to eliminate a bottleneck east of Dearborn where two tracks merge into one line is scheduled to begin in the spring, he said.

That’s expected to trim five to seven minutes off the trip, making it about 50 to 55 minutes. Stops will be at Detroit, Dearborn, near Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

Work is under way on the federally required environmental assessment.

Three locomotives and nine passenger cars have been leased from Great Lakes Central Railroad, which is owned by Farmington Hills-based Federated Capital Corp., and are in the process of being refurbished and painted, Palombo said.

The lease and refurbishment work is about $2 million. The livery will be green, yellow and blue, and trains will be a locomotive with two cars.

SEMCOG previously wanted to have a demonstration service set up by this month for special events, such as University of Michigan football games and the Thanksgiving parade, but the organizing process didn’t allow that to happen.

The demonstration service could still happen this year if the funding is awarded and work on the cars is done soon, Palombo said.

When the regular service begins, fares could run $6 to $8 for the full trip between Detroit and Ann Arbor, or $1.50 to $2 between stations. Those numbers could change by the time the service begins, Palombo said.
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  #87  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2010, 1:39 PM
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Well to qoute Prof. Hubert J. Farnsworth, Good news everyone! This is actully the first I've herd of the Ann Arbor-Detroit line, although I think they would get more riders if the trip was under the 50 min mark since I belive that's what the drive time is.

Quote:
Three locomotives and nine passenger cars have been leased from Great Lakes Central Railroad, which is owned by Farmington Hills-based Federated Capital Corp., and are in the process of being refurbished and painted, Palombo said.
Hmm, that's interesting. Speaking from a railfans point of view, I'm guessing that the loco's will be either Geeps or SD-40s.

Quote:
The lease and refurbishment work is about $2 million. The livery will be green, yellow and blue, and trains will be a locomotive with two cars.
Green, Yellow, Blue huh? Not sure how well those colors will mesh, I think it would make more sense to do yellow and blue, since the line does originate in Ann Arbor
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  #88  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2010, 6:00 PM
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I'm more concerned about the frequency. 4 round trips a day is less than the Music City Star in Nashville, and it has the same problems with the downtown station being in a less-than-ideal location. Nashville's had a few years to work out the kinks, and their ridership is growing, but it's still less than ideal.

The Northstar Corridor in Minneapolis is performing much better, but it has a direct light-rail connection and a major sports stadium at its downtown terminal.

It's too bad they converted the Dequindre Cut into a greenway... it would be great to have a legitimate downtown terminal AND a New Center station.
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Last edited by ardecila; Oct 24, 2010 at 6:11 PM.
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  #89  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2010, 11:52 PM
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The frequency leaves much to be desired. Though, it does help to note that I'd imagine that most of the trips aren't along the full route. I'd bet that most of the trips are too and from the airport from either end of the line. Despite Wayne and Washtenaw counties being directly adjacent to one another, and both urban areas basically having sprawled into one another, Ann Arbor is still not a part of Metro Detroit's MSA.
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  #90  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2010, 9:37 PM
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Agree on the frequency, but if you think about most trips would be during the morning or evening rush hours. And a friend sent me this pic when i told him about this thread -



(pic is from similar thread at railroadfan.com, personally i think they could of done a better job on the scheme.
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  #91  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2010, 9:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I'm more concerned about the frequency. 4 round trips a day is less than the Music City Star in Nashville, and it has the same problems with the downtown station being in a less-than-ideal location.
4 round trips a day is fine IF AND ONLY IF there is direct (ie., "one-ride") service between the downtown all the stations whenever the train isn't running, seven days a week.

GO Transit (Greater Toronto) runs buses between Union Station and all suburban stations (in both directions) whenever the train isn't running, so that you're not screwed if you miss the last train. In some cases they're actually faster than the train. For example (see schedule: http://www.gotransit.com/publicroot/...station=&zone= ), a GO Train from Union to Markham takes a scheduled 46-49 minutes (it is approximately 24 miles driving distance), but a GO Bus takes as little as 27 scheduled minutes from Union Station to Markham (late at night), so it's averaging around 50 MPH.

If buses aren't going to continue to connect all the stations when the trains aren't running, the system is of little use. And this is one of the reasons why some of these commuter rail systems are doing under 10,000 boardings per day, even with two lines. What if you need to work late one night or want to go out for drinks after work? You need to know that you can have a ride right back to the suburban station without having to make transfers or pouring over some transit maps/schedules to try and figure out how to get home.

That some commuter rail systems don't run direct replacement buses to/from downtown whenever the trains aren't running is stupid.
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  #92  
Old Posted Oct 25, 2010, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer87 View Post
(pic is from similar thread at railroadfan.com, personally i think they could of done a better job on the scheme.
Yeah. Green and blue? Really?

More news...

Quote:

Michigan to get $160M for high-speed rail projects

By TODD SPANGLER
FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

October 25, 2010

WASHINGTON – The state of Michigan will receive more than $160 million for high-speed rail projects, including $150 million to develop a high-speed rail between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, officials announced today. The official announcement is not expected to come from the U.S. Department of Transportation until later this week.

...

In addition, $7.9 million will go to the West Detroit connection project to connect the Chicago-Detroit High Speed line to Detroit New Center Station. That project involves building a new bridge over Junction Avenue; construction of 1.34 miles of new connection track; relocation of a little less than a mile of existing track, and construction of three new crossovers and signal improvements.

Levin’s office said reducing travel time and removing conflicts with freight rail is important to the economic future of the region. Stabenow said the grants will create jobs immediately and serve to modernize transportation for the region.
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  #93  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2011, 11:25 AM
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Feds grant $25M for downtown light rail

Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

January 21 2011

Federal officials on Thursday announced a grant agreement has been signed for $25 million toward a proposed light rail project in downtown Detroit.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the deal was signed by the Federal Transit Administration, city of Detroit and Michigan Department of Transportation for the first phase of the M-1 rail, a 3.4-mile, 12-station line from Hart Plaza to the New Center area.

The $25 million, which was applied for in 2010, comes from a $1.5 billion fund under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is known as TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funds.

The funds are to be used for road rehabilitation, landscaping and the purchase of light rail cars for the project.

...

Proponents of the system plan to break ground in late 2011 once the findings of an environmental impact study are complete this spring.

Both public and private funds would be used to pay for the $450 million trolley-type system, which in total would run 9.3 miles from Hart Plaza to Eight Mile.

...

The cash-strapped city received a major break last year when U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick added an amendment to the 2010 federal transportation bill that would allow Detroit to use the $125 million in private funds as its 20 percent portion of the project.

"That really made the federal government take notice," said M-1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen, who credited Mayor Dave Bing for his strong leadership for the project.

...

Hoeffner said the impact study should be submitted by spring, approved sometime this summer and the signing of construction contracts by Sept. 30.

Initial stops on the system include: Michigan State Fairgrounds at Eight Mile, Seven Mile, McNichols, Manchester, Glendale, Calvert and Hazelwood/Holbrook.

More include: Grand Boulevard, Piquette, Warren, Mack, Foxtown and Hart Plaza.
http://www.detnews.com/article/20110...own-light-rail
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  #94  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 7:18 AM
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Not good news. While, maybe they do have mechanics to spare, in a system with already lower-than-average ridership when compared to similar cities, it just doesn't make sense to continue to cut service/routes any further than they've already been cut. It's self-sabotage, a self-fulfilling prophecy:

Quote:



Detroit cost-cutting plan for buses reduces mechanics, merges routes

Jan. 30, 2011

By JOHN WISELY
Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

Detroit's bus system has too many routes, too many mechanics and can't account for nearly a quarter of its fare box revenue -- up to $9 million a year, according to city officials looking for ways to cut costs.

The bleak picture of the system, which moves about 125,000 people each weekday, is spelled out in a plan Detroit filed in November with the state to explain how it will attack a $76-million deficit in the city's public transit fund.

The plan said about 100 of the city's 445 buses are out of service, even though there is one mechanic for every 2.5 buses -- more mechanics than many other cities and Detroit's suburban bus counterpart, SMART. A union official said the city does not keep motors and transmissions in stock to allow mechanics to keep the buses running.

The plan calls for consolidating routes, reducing the number of mechanics and getting more riders to use prepaid debit-style cards to reduce the need to handle cash.

...

Megan Owens, executive director of Transportation Riders United, said she fears more cuts could leave people stranded.

"They've already cut about one-third of the service over the past five years," she said.


...

A Free Press review of data provided by the city indicates a ratio of one mechanic per 2.48 buses. The numbers in the plan were based on 2009 figures and are changing, said Dan Lijana, a spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing.

Free Press research shows that Cleveland had a ratio similar to Detroit. Milwaukee has one mechanic for every 5.87 buses and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, Detroit's suburban bus system, has one mechanic for every 5.97 buses.

SMART spokeswoman Beth Gibbons cautioned against comparing the suburban system with Detroit's, which operates more in stop-and-go city traffic.

"We cover 1,200 square miles, and our passengers are on the bus for an average of 9 miles," Gibbons said. "In an urban system, it's more like 3 miles."

Stopping and starting more often leads to more maintenance needs.

...
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  #95  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 10:07 AM
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It's more than a little ironic that Motor City can't keep its buses in good working order. Sad, too.
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  #96  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2011, 12:02 PM
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It's pretty difficult to keep anything in "good working order" with a vanished tax base. The city government up until very recently pretended for decades to its own detriment with accounting gimmicks that it was a fiscally sound that it seems like every department of the city has been shortchanged in some way. This results in the city not doing any one particular thing well, and transit has been no exception.

What's a bit worrisome, here, is that the longer the region keeps uncomfortably dodging forming a regional transit authority, the longer DDOT will have in running the new Woodward Light Rail, which starts construction in a few months. And, well, if that's the case, it doesn't stand much of a chance. The sad thing is the state legislature passed the regional mass transit plan that allow the region to form the authority over two years ago, now.

BTW, anyone interested in Woodward Avenue light rail, the Draft EIS was released the other day:

Woodward Avenue Light Rail Draft Environmental Impact Study
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  #97  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2011, 10:58 AM
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Everything still moving as planned...

Quote:
Woodward light rail excites supporters

Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

March 11, 2001

Detroit— "The train is coming."

That was the message sent by city official Thursday night to neighbors and members of Mount Olive Baptist Church about a proposed light rail system on Woodward that would pass directly in front of the church.

Hosted by the Detroit Department of Transportation, the meeting provided environmental, economic and quality of life information about the 9 1/3 mile long project, which would run from Hart Plaza to the former Michigan State Fairgrounds near Eight Mile.

Officials noted the uniqueness of the project which would be funded by private investors, the city of Detroit and the federal government.

The cost of the electrically powered system is pegged at about $450 million, with private investors — including Mike Ilitch, Peter Karmanos and Roger Penske — funding the first segment running from Jefferson to the New Center area for $125 million.

...

Jason Fligger brought his daughter Jessica, 6. "I live near McNichols and Woodward and I'm excited about the idea to be able to take a trolley downtown and not have to pay for parking," Fligger said.

Public comment on the project ends on Monday.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2012 and be completed by 2016.

tgreenwood@detnews.com
http://www.detnews.com/article/20110...tes-supporters
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  #98  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2011, 3:53 AM
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Still trying to figure out exactly what this means. It sounds good, but there are some very basic questions...

Quote:


Detroit City Council to discuss resolution to OK $125 million in bonds for Woodward rail line

By Bill Shea | Crain's Detroit Business

On the agenda for the Detroit City Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday is a resolution that would authorize $125 million in bonds for construction of a portion of the $450 million light-rail project on Woodward Avenue.

The resolution would green-light up to $125 million in Capital Grant Receipts Revenue Bonds, and the money would pay for some of the rail line work and "other essential capital improvements for the city's Department of Transportation."

It's unclear how or whether the bonds are linked to the $125 million in funding arranged for the project by the private sector.

The bond resolution is scheduled for a vote that would send it to the Budget, Finance and Audit Standing Committee, headed by Councilman Ken Cockrel Jr.

Reached by phone this afternoon, Cockrel said he was aware the resolution was coming but hadn't seen any details.

A message seeking comment was left for Norm White, the city's CFO and lead on the rail project. The resolution puts White in charge of the bond sale.

A message also was left for DDOT Director Lovevett Williams.


...
Huh?
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  #99  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2011, 9:41 PM
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What are you confused about?

The city hasn't gotten the funds from the Feds yet (USDOT is committed to the project but Congress has not yet appropriated the funds) so the City of Detroit is issuing bonds (generally called GARVEEs) that will be paid back once Detroit receives the Federal grant.

Because of the time value of money and the general increase in construction costs over time, Detroit gets more benefit from paying interest on the bonds than they do by waiting a few years for the Feds to find the money. It also allows construction to start much sooner.
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  #100  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2011, 4:15 AM
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I was confused as it veers away completely with how this was planned. There was absolutely no discussion of this until it came up the other day.
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