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Detroit train “M1 Rail” project gets green light from federal government

July 18, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

We’ve all heard it over and over. More people would go to Detroit and enjoy the city if there were an option for safe, convenient and accessible public transportation.   That means not paying $25 for parking in a lot, and not getting stuck in casino, sporting event or tunnel traffic.

It looks like such an option is finally coming to fruition. Soon, there will be a 3.3 mile “M-1 Rail” streetcar line in Detroit, on Woodward Ave. between Congress to just north of Grand Boulevard. There will also be stops along the route.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has completed its environmental review, allowing the M1 Rail project to proceed to its next phases, which are design, purchase of right-of-way along Woodward and then construction, according to a recent Detroit Free Press article by Matt Helms, M1 Rail project gets final ok from federal government.

The decision marks the federal government’s seal of approval for the $140-million plan to build the rail line.

According to a February 2011 story on Mlive by Jeff T. Wattrick, Everything you wanted to know about Detroit’s M1 light rail project…. Similar systems have been very successful in other states, and officials are expecting a lot of people to utilize the M1 rail, based upon the success of other cities with similar systems. The Mlive story referenced the light rail service in Phoenix, Arizona, that accommodates 35,000-40,000 commuters every day.

I couldn’t be happier about this  project. The Detroit Rail will likely help those currently punished by the  auto insurance crisis that’s happening in Detroit right now, where up to 50% of drivers are driving without auto insurance, because they can’t afford it. You can read about the harsh consequences of driving without auto insurance in Michigan here. It will give transportation options to the 25% of Detroiters who do not own vehicles.

It will also be a boon to lawyers like me who drive to Detroit for court several times a week and have to pay expensive parking rates. And those steep parking rates affect everyone in Detroit and those wishing to travel there.

The public transportation problem has become such a problem, that my own law firm, Michigan Auto Law, has created a Detroit satellite law office as one way to help our own clients without reliable transportation.  Our new office is located in the Ford Building, 615 Griswold, Suite 402.

More people using Detroit rail means less people injured in car accidents. And in my book as an auto accident attorney, that’s a good thing. I look forward to the day – hopefully one day soon – when attorneys like myself become obsolete and everyone has safe transportation.

The best news is that the M1 Rail isn’t expected to end in Detroit. That’s just the beginning.  Eventually, it may stretch  from Detroit to Pontiac.  There are also plans for a commuter line from Detroit to Ann Arbor and for this to include a stop at Metro Airport. Both the M1 and the Ann Arbor line expect cross paths at the New Center Amtrak station.

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