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Detroit’s Light Rail Plan Derailed

December 14 2011 | 1 comment

A plan to build a light rail system along Woodward Avenue in Detroit has been scrapped.

According to sources familiar with the Woodward M-1 Light Rail Project, federal funding for the plan is being pulled and the project is dead.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will meet with members of the Michigan Congressional delegation today to inform them of the decision not to support the project.

It is expected that a rapid regional bus system will be suggested instead.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing calls the decision a positive development. Speaking at an event honoring bus drivers, the Mayor told reporters, “This will serve more people” and “be more cost effective.”

Bing says a regional bus system would run major lines down Woodward, Gratiot, Michigan and “hopefully” Grand River. The mayor said Wednesday that Governor Rick Snyder has been talking with the Transportation Secretary, as well as the area’s four County Executives regarding the region’s transportation future.

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  1. C. Currie December 14, 2011

    I am appalled that plans for a light-rail line for Detroit (and potentially, the region) have been effectively killed. The way I see it, this alternative proposal for rapid-transit buses as a substitute is premature, at best.
    For the record, just who exactly is going to own and operate these buses? The city of Detroit? SMART? M-DOT? Wouldn’t a formalized regional transit authority need to be in place to operate these lines? The same authority, that, thus far, regional leaders have failed to actually create? This city and region have just lost another resident if they can’t get it together on mass-transit services.
    Respectfully, my suggestion is that Governor Snyder demand that the state legislature and/or regional leaders in Southeastern Michigan to form a multi-county authority to oversee transit in our region– and give them a fixed date by which to achieve this. Otherwise, it ends up being all talk, and no action.


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