The M-1 Rail streetcar project, originally set to be operational and carrying passengers in 2016 has been delayed until spring 2017.
According to project spokesmen Dan Lijana, the construction schedule has not been delayed, but the revised timeline is due to new federal safety regulations.
Adherence to the regulations is required due to the fact that M-1’s funding is partially Federal, therefore it must meet new safety standards in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This is a surface transportation spending law that was passed in 2012.
M-1 Rail will be among the first projects that are affected by the legislation. The specific elements of the bill that affect the M-1 Rail are not available at this time.
Construction on the much anticipated 3.3-mile streetcar system began on Woodward Ave. in July, 2014. It will run along Woodward from the heart of downtown Detroit to the New Center area. At the north end of the rail, operations will be housed in the Penske Center. The full delivery of streetcars will not be until 2017, either.
Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert is M-1 Rail’s co-chairman. In May he secured the naming rights for the M-1 Rail. He has invested $10 million of the project’s $137 million cost. The rest of the total amount is funded by a mix of public, foundation, and corporate money.
Plans are for the fares for the streetcar to be $1.50, along with a variety of pass and fare options. Currently, there’s a study underway to have one unified fare card for all systems that touch the Regional Transit Authority.