Against a backdrop of construction crews ripping up Woodward Avenue, a who’s who of Detroit and Michigan leaders and a White House cabinet member gathered Monday to push the $140-million M-1 Rail streetcar project several steps closer to completion.
M-1 Rail officials released a new map of the route with station locations and the major sponsors affiliated with each stop.
Ford kicked in $3 million to sponsor a stop on the 3.1-mile route.
DTE Energy pledged $3 million to become the sponsor that can say the new streetcar line will be “powered by DTE Energy.” The line on Woodward Avenue from New Center to Jefferson Avenue is scheduled to be completed by 2016.
Ford will sponsor the stop at Amsterdam, near Grand Boulevard, said Jim Vella, head of Ford’s philanthropic fund and community services. “We may do some things around the stop like e-charging stations for vehicles,” Vella said, “but we haven’t worked that out yet.”
Quicken Loans is the sponsor for the Congress station at the southern tip on the line, while Henry Ford Health System will sponsor the Grand Boulevard station at the north end of the rail line, near the main Henry Ford Hospital complex that is west of Woodward.
Cass Technical High School Marching Band performs during a Ceremony to celebrate the public-private partnership behind the M-1 rail line, a 3.3-mile streetcar project that broke ground this summer at Grand Circus Park in Detroit on Friday, September 12, 2014.
Ilitch Holdings is sponsoring the Foxtown stop, along with the Sibley station where the new Red Wings hockey arena and related developments will rise. And Wayne State University will be the sponsor for the station at Warren Avenue, a key Midtown artery that cuts through the WSU campus.
Seven years ago, when a few business moguls and the Kresge Foundation hatched the notion of a privately-funded Woodward rail line, Detroit’s fledgling downtown-Midtown resurgence was still more talk than construction cranes — and the Great Recession was about to slam the city one more time.
But now M-1 Rail is actually happening, prompting Gov. Rick Snyder to relate Monday this story from last Friday, when he was returning from Flint and his wife, Sue, was at the Tigers baseball game in Detroit. Sue asked her husband, “What are you going to do about all that construction on Woodward?” — and the governor replied, “Honey this is the kind of construction we want.”
Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, was on hand at the ceremony Monday to say Detroit proved its mettle and is deserving of the latest $12.2-million federal grant that pushed the project forward.
And auto racing and retailing legend Roger Penske, who headed the host committee that brought the 2006 Super Bowl to Detroit and now chairs the M-1 Rail board, said, “We’re going to have a Super Bowl every day when this train runs from New Center to downtown.”
While the capital costs for building the streetcar line are estimated at $140 million, the M-1 board also is raising money to fund early operating costs for the system because most public transit projects tend to run operating deficits, especially in early years.
So far, the top sources of money for M-1 Rail are the Kresge Foundation, which pledged $49.6 million, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, with grants totaling $37.2 million.
Quicken Loans and the State of Michigan pledged $10 million each, Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority $9 million, Penske Corp. $7 million and Ilitch Holdings $6 million. The Ford Foundation is in for $4 million; $3-million donations were pledged by General Motors, Ford, the Chrysler Foundation, Detroit Medical Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Wayne State University and Wayne County. Compuware and JPMorgan Chase put up $1.5 million each and the Hudson-Webber Foundation $1 million.
Other federal, state and local officials who were on hand Monday to sign their names on two pieces of rail track were Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Reps. John Dingell and Sander Levin, M-1 CEO Matt Cullen, Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert and several Detroit City Council members.
Work started several weeks ago on Woodward with crews excavating the route.
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