DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The U.S. Department of Transportation has given final clearance to developers of a privately managed $140 million streetcar line following a 3.3-mile course through the heart of Detroit.

M-1 Rail chief executive Matt Cullen announced the move Monday. His nonprofit group is in charge of the project.

Cullen says the Federal Transit Administration’s decision means M-1 Rail can proceed with design, right-of-way acquisition and construction.

He says he expects construction to start construction south of Adams Street this year and north of Adams next year as part of a state reconstruction of Woodward.

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. – 10 p.m., at 12 mph.

M-1 Rail is a coalition of private-sector philanthropic and business leaders which has committed more than $100 million toward construction — and the U.S. government will chip in $25 million. The remainder will be funded by state and local sources.

Plans are for the rail to be up running in late 2015.

MORE: Detroit Gets $25M In Federal Funding For Woodward Light Rail

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