M-1 Rail Gets Final Clearance

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    The 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along Woodward Ave. received clearance from the Federal Transit Administration to  proceed with its streetcar implementation plans. On Monday, April 22, M-1 Rail president and CEO, Matthew P. Cullen welcomed eight new members to the non-profit’s board of directors and introduced Jeni Norman as Chief Financial Officer.

     

    The FTA has completed the environmental clearance for the Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project.  With the issuance of the Amended Record of Decision, the project is allowed to move forward to the next phases of design, right of way acquisition and construction. This is the last approval step under the National Environmental Policy Act process.

    “On behalf of the entire M-1 RAIL team and our community partners I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the FTA for confirming the streetcar project complies with National Environmental Policy Act and Federal transit laws,” said Cullen.  “I would also like to thank the Michigan Department of Transportation, the City of Detroit, all the people and organizations who support this project, along with the passionate members of the Detroit community who provided valuable input. Your continued commitment and contribution is a key first step in an improved transportation system for all of Detroit and our region.”

    Now that the process for approval of the Amended ROD has been completed, the M-1 RAIL organization continues to strengthen its team with the hiring of a Chief Financial Officer and by electing eight new members to its board of directors. These announcements come about two weeks after hiring a Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Governmental & Community Affairs.

    Board of Directors

     

    “We are very encouraged that so many people from our community are eager to be a part of making the Woodward Avenue Streetcar a success,” said Cullen, “and it brings me great pleasure to welcome eight of them to our board of directors.  With their knowledge and leadership at the table, the opportunity for better transit for Detroit and our region in the future is greater.”       

    The newest additions are:

    $11.     Dave Blaszkiewicz, President and CEO, Downtown Detroit Partnership

    $12.     Darrell Burks, Retired Senior Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

    $13.     Jared Fleisher, Attorney, Patton Boggs

    $14.     Sarah McClelland, President, Michigan Market, J.P. Morgan Chase

    $15.     Mike McLauchlan, Vice President, Government Relations, Illitch Holdings, Inc.

    $16.     Susan Mosey, President, Midtown Detroit, Inc. 

    $17.     Faye Nelson, President and CEO, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

    $18.     Robert Riney, President and Chief Operating Officer, Henry Ford Health System

    Blaszkiewicz has been elected Secretary of the Board and Burks has been elected Treasurer.

    The M-1 Board of Directors has 14 members, including these additions.  

    CFO

    Norman, a Senior Manager with the Audit and Assurance Department of The Rehmann Group, has more than a decade of experience in finance for a portfolio of clients that has included not-for-profits, governmental entities, and commercial businesses.    

    As CFO, Norman will lead the project’s Finance Committee; implement near and long-term finance strategies; manage the capital project and operating budgets; and ensure compliance with all funding requirements of federal, state and local funding agencies.   She begins in early May. 

    “The financial structure of the Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project is very complex given the unique circumstances of this public-private partnership when compared to similar transit projects across the country,” said Norman.  “It’s unprecedented that New Market Tax Credits are being leveraged for a rail system; and that a non-profit organization is spearheading the construction of a $140 million infrastructure project. I am eager to work with the rest of the M-1 team to deliver this great project for Detroit and the region.”

    Paul Trulik, who has been serving as interim-CFO, will continue to be involved in the project as Assistant Treasurer for the board of directors    

    Amended Record of Decision

     

    TheFTARecordofDecision(ROD)appliestotheStreetcarAlternativedescribedandevaluated intheSupplementalEnvironmentalAssessment(EA)fortheProject,signedFebruary1,2013. TheEAsupplementstheFinalEnvironmentalImpactStatement(FEIS)fortheWoodward AvenueLightRailTransit(LRT)Project,signedJune1,2011. ThisAmendedRODreplacesthe RODissuedAugust31,2011fortheLRTProject.

     

    The project is a 3.3-mile, fixed-rail, at-grade streetcar system located entirely within the right-of-way of Woodward Avenue in the city of Detroit.  It would operate in mixed traffic and run from Larned Street in downtown Detroit north to Chandler Street/ Delaware Street, north of Grand

    Boulevard, in the New Center district.  Twelve stations are proposed along Woodward Avenue, eleven with project implementation and a potential twelfth station in the future. 

    M-1 RAIL expects to begin construction of the system south of Adams Street in 2013.  Construction north of Adams Street will begin in 2014, which will include Michigan Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) planned reconstruction of 2.5 miles of Woodward Avenue from Sibley Street to Chandler Street.  M-1 RAIL plans to complete the entire system and begin operations in late 2015.

    The Amended ROD is available for review at www.mi.gov/woodwardstreetcarand at designated locations in Wayne, Oakland and Ingham counties, including:

    $1·       Detroit Public Library Main Branch, 5201 Woodward Ave., and its branch locations at 3666 Grand River Ave., 1766 Oakman Blvd., 121 Gratiot Ave., 2507 W. Grand Blvd., 1221 E. Seven Mile Rd., and 7117 W. Seven Mile Rd.

    $1·       Detroit Department of Transportation Office, 1301 E. Warren Ave.

    $1·       City of Highland Park Offices, 12050 Woodward Ave.

    $1·       Southeast Michigan Council of Governments Offices, 1001 Woodward Ave., Ste.1400, Detroit

    $1·       MDOT Transportation Service Center, 1060 W. Fort St., Detroit

    $1·       MDOT Metropolitan Region Office, 18101 W. Nine Mile Rd., Southfield

    $1·       MDOT Public Involvement and Hearings Office, Bureau of Highway Development, 425 W. Ottawa St., Lansing

    About M-1 RAIL

    M-1 RAIL is the 501 c3 organization charged with managing the design, construction, and future operation of the 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along Woodward Avenue from Congress to E. Grand Boulevard.  Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.  Visit www.M-1RAIL.com for more information. 

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