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Detroit Light Rail Project Faces $12 Million Shortfall

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Artist rendering of the Woodward Light Rail. (Credit: m-1rail.com)

Artist rendering of the Woodward Light Rail. (Credit: m-1rail.com)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Officials say Detroit’s nearly $140 million light passenger rail project faces a $12 million funding shortfall as a planned groundbreaking approaches.

Matt Cullen, CEO of the M-1 Rail project, told The Detroit News that additional funding being sought from the U.S. Department of Transportation is crucial, but the project could proceed without it.

Cullen said a groundbreaking is planned in about a month after seeking final permits from Detroit City Council. A failure to win further federal support, Cullen said, could require a redesign of the 3.3-mile project and a scaling back of some elements.

Michigan members of Congress sent a letter on May 1, urging transportation officials to approve more money for the project.

“Without the requested $12.2 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant, this important project will be delayed indefinitely, and we fear the resulting costs could make the project unaffordable,” the letter read.

Cullen said a decision from the Transportation Department is expected by September.

The streetcar line is to expected to start running along Woodward Avenue in 2016 —  assuming construction isn’t delayed. The streetcar will run every seven minutes along Woodward Avenue from Jefferson Avenue to just north of Grand Boulevard.

The streetcar line is expected to include 11 stations, with connections to Campus Martius, Comerica Park, the Detroit Medical Center area and Wayne State University. The plan calls for six cars, traveling from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., at 12 mph.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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