Detroit — Federal OK
The Detroit Free Press reports that the $140-million M1 Rail project has received its final environemntal approval from the Federal Transit Administration. With this approval the project's leaders can proceed to design, acquisition of right-of-way, and then construction of the line.
M1 Rail President and CEO Matt Cullen told the Free Press “It’s a big step, We’ve been expecting it for a long time, but actually getting it done is an important emotional step. We’re excited about it.” Construction could be underway by late summer.
The project is guided by the nonprofit M1 Rail which has been strengthening its team. The group added eight members to their board, and hired a chief financial officer follwoing earlier accition of a chief administrative officer and a government and community coordinator.
The FTA had awarded the project $25-million this year and the remainder of the funding is from private sources, including $35-million from the Kresge Foundation and $9-million from the Downtown Development Authority.
Even the big three auto manufacturers—who had been so instrumental in elimination of Detroit's first generation streetcars in the 1950s—have made financial contributions to the project, as have a variety of other public and private organizations.