Tuesday, April 23, 2013

FTA approves Detroit streetcar project

The Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project received clearance to proceed from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The project is a 3.3-mile, fixed-rail, at-grade streetcar system located entirely within the right-of-way of Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Mich. It would operate in mixed traffic and run from Larned Street in downtown Detroit north to Chandler Street/ Delaware Street, north of Grand Boulevard, in the New Center district. Twelve stations are proposed along Woodward Avenue, 11 with project implementation and a potential 12th station in the future.

The FTA has completed the environmental clearance for the project. With the issuance of the Amended Record of Decision (ROD), the project is allowed to move forward to the next phases of design, right-of-way acquisition and construction. This is the last approval step under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

The FTA ROD applies to the Streetcar Alternative described and evaluated in the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project, signed February 1, 2013. The EA supplements the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Woodward Avenue Light Rail Transit project, signed June 1, 2011. This Amended ROD replaces the ROD issued August 31, 2011 for the project.

M-1 Rail, which will operate the streetcar service, expects to begin construction of the system south of Adams Street in 2013. Construction north of Adams Street will begin in 2014, which will include Michigan Department of Transportation's planned reconstruction of 2.5 miles of Woodward Avenue from Sibley Street to Chandler Street. M-1 Rail plans to complete the entire system and begin operations in late 2015.

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