Big Day For M1 rail? Nope. At least 60 more days for $25M federal grant
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, as well as with the private backers of a $137 million streetcar plan for Woodward Avenue including Roger Penske and Matt Cullen.
However, LaHood did not deliver a $25 million TIGER grant as had been hoped for by M1 advocates. Instead, the Feds gave local officials and the M1 investors 60 days to finalize plans.
LaHood was scheduled to join Snyder, Bing, Penske, and Cullen for a post-meeting news conference, but he didn't appear.
Snyder, et al praised the work completed so far on M1 and highlighted a handful of critical issues still to be sorted out, including the creation of a regional transit authority and long-term funding plans.
“There’s a handful of questions, four of five, important questions about operating costs, capital costs and things they should—so I think it’s really incumbent on us to take the next 60 days and work hard…and let’s answer the questions,” Snyder said.
The M1 Rail consortium is led by Penske Corp. founder Roger Penske, chairman of the project; Peter Karmanos Jr., founder of Detroit-based Compuware Corp.; the Ilitch family, owners of the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings and Little Caesar Enterprises Inc.; and Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert, the project's co-chairman. Matt Cullen, M1's CEO and one of Gilbert's top lieutenants.
M1 has said it has $84.1 million in pledged funding so far for the line's capital costs and has been seeking federal help for some of the remainder.