United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx joined local, state and federal government officials, private donors and the Detroit community at a “Track Signing Ceremony” in Detroit to announce a $12.2 million TIGER grant for the M-1 RAIL project. All of the streetcar project donors were recognized, including the two newest – Ford Motor Co. and DTE Energy.
Addressing the hundreds gathered in Grand Circus Park for the ceremony, Secretary Foxx said, “What we saw in this project was … the strength, determination and the mettle of a great city. When Detroit moves, America moves.”
With construction underway nearby on Woodward Avenue, several speakers remarked about the significant role the M-1 RAIL streetcar will have in generating economic development, connecting people and places along the corridor, and the contribution the streetcar will have in the continued transformation of Detroit and the region.
M-1 RAIL Board Chairman and project donor Roger Penske said “We are on time, on target, and on board to get this done in 2016. We are going to have a Super Bowl every day when the streetcar runs between New Center and Downtown.”
Also for the first time, the station sponsors were revealed for each of the streetcar stations. While the stations names will be designated based on the street or area where the cars stop, the sponsors will be recognized as part of the station design.
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“It’s unprecedented that the private and philanthropic leadership of a community commit more than $100 million to design, build, and operate a public streetcar line and through its TIGER grant, USDOT has reaffirmed its commitment to Detroit and M-1 RAIL,” said M-1 RAIL President and CEO Matthew P. Cullen. “The M-1 donors have expressed unyielding support since the beginning. Their significant contributions of time, talent and resources have helped to keep this vision on track and for that we are forever grateful.”
Government officials, the leadership of Detroit-based corporate and philanthropic entities, and citizens who live and work in the community signed two five-foot pieces of steel streetcar track that will be installed in the Penske Corporation Tech Center, to be located near the northern end of the line. The commemorative track will serve as an important historical marker and long-term reminder of the collaborative public-private partnership formed to make modern streetcar transportation a reality in Detroit.
The other speakers were: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, U.S. Congressmen John Dingell and Sander Levin, Kresge Foundation President & CEO Richard “Rip” Rapson and M-1 RAIL Vice Chairman and Quicken Loans Founder & Chairman Dan Gilbert.