Detroit, Michigan — February 18, 2010 at 9:54 am

More stimulus “fail”: Detroit gets $25 mil. for light rail project


Yup, the ole stimulus package is an utter failure. Just look at how it’s failing in Michigan:

WashingtonA light rail plan along Woodward to connect downtown Detroit with the New Center area will get a $25 million infusion of federal money, officials briefed on the matter told The Detroit News.

The federal funds — to be announced today — are a big boost for the M-1 Rail Project, which would represent Detroit’s first foray into rail-based public transit since the opening of the People Mover in 1987.

Ouch. Epic fail. Not.

More Crains Detroit:

The project is among 51 the agency said will get $1.5 billion funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s discretionary grant program, called Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.

“TIGER funds will be used for road rehabilitation, a streetscape enhancement project, and the purchase of light rail cars,” for the M1 Rail project, the USDOT said in a statement.

M1 Rail plans a 3.4-mile, 12-stop route from Hart Plaza to New Center. It is cooperating with the Detroit Department of Transportation, which will extend the line to Eight Mile Road.

The New Center is commercial hub three miles north of downtown Detroit. It ” includes mixed industrial and commercial areas in the southern section, and primarily residential areas to the north.” It is an area steeped in Detroit history and is a combination of historical sites, cultural attractions, the Henry Ford Hospital and numerous commercial enterprises. Connecting the downtown Detroit area with the New Center will create jobs (both during and after construction) and will aid in stimulating the economy in this most-depressed area of Michigan at a time when it really needs it.

Note that this is a GRANT, not a “Big Government HandoutTM, though I feel pretty certain that is exactly how it will be portrayed by conservatives in Michigan and around the country.

More from the Detroit News:

Local funds totaling $93 million, most of it from a consortium of private backers, will pay for the infrastructure of Phase 1, including tracks, train cars and electrical lines to power the trains from Jefferson to West Grand Boulevard. The system will span 3.4 miles, and construction is slated to begin later this year.

Detroit needs a better mass-transit system. This is exactly the type of thing that can reduce pollution and congestion and stimulate development. Here’s our Senator, Carl Levin:

“Detroit has had an all-bus fleet for decades, and the city has long struggled to build a rapid transit line along the Woodward Avenue corridor.

“This funding is a vital vote of confidence from the U.S. Department of Transportation and is a huge boost to move this project forward. Developing a light rail system along Woodward Avenue is an extraordinary public-private partnership that will create jobs and will spur economic development.

Epic Obama administration fail, eh? Cue the anti-stimulus outrage in three…two…one…

I’m just sayin’…