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Woodward Rail To Break Ground This Year

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Artist rendering for Woodward Light Rail project.

Artist rendering for Woodward Light Rail project.

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DETROIT (WWJ) – After years of talking, is a light rail system on Woodward Avenue in Detroit about to become a reality?

Federal transit administrator Peter Rogoff, speaking Monday with business and community leaders at Wayne State University, said he believes ground will be broken on the project within the next year, and the first phase from downtown to Eight Mile Road could be finished in two to three years.

“I think it’s gonna be a light rail system that’s going to be center-running along Woodward Avenue. It’s going to connect to the Rose Parks Transit Center downtown,” said Rogoff.

“It’s going to, initially, head out to a station at Eight Mile Road, but I think there are opportunities for it to extend even farther than that,” he said.

Rogoff acknowledged that some critics say a light rail system that stops at Eight Mile doesn’t make sense. But he disagrees.

“A lot of it is mobility around Detroit — parking once. And, perhaps, when you’re making a connection between business meetings, when you’re meeting friends for lunch, it’s about parking your car once rather than three times,” Rogoff said.

“I think, also, there are residential communities, as you get up toward Eight Mile Road, that can integrate and make this a regular commuting pattern.  I think this is a first step; I think it’s the beginning of a regional rail system. That’s not gonna happen overnight.”

Rogoff said he believes the system has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs in the area.

Does this project make sense to you? This is what some WWJ listeners are saying on Facebook:

“Governmental, financial pacification through a faux jobs program. We need new school buildings, a 15 year educational improvement plan, road expansion and general road improvement, but thanks for the offer of a rail cookie.” – Brian

“Yeah, of course! Why wouldn’t? There are cities around the world smaller than us that have better transit systems than Detroit!” – Zachary

“Biggest waste of money I can think of. If this had a reasonable chance of creating wealth or a profit without subsidies, it would be done by the private sector. Big government throwing our money away again.” – Dave

“There are a lot of other roads that could use a light rail, like Jefferson for instance, take it all the way down to Monroe. Woodward has a bus system but there is no way to get Downriver from Detroit without it taking 3 hours by bus or just driving your car. going down Woodward would not be the best use of the Federal Dollars.” – Melissa

“Hopefully it gets yanked before wasting any tax dollars – what a ridiculous pork barreled boondoggle!” – Joe

What do you think? Comment below or join the conversation on Facebook.

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