Follows the plan for Woodward Light Rail.
In October 2011, Snyder was planning to announce proposals for bus rapid transit in the Detroit area financed by wholesale fuel taxes and local vehicle registration fees. Lines will be proposed from Woodward and Gratiot from downtown to the suburbs; between downtown Detroit and Ann Arbor and Detroit Metro Airport; and along M-59 in Macomb and Oakland. The organization would operate independently of DDOT and SMART, and the Governor hopes it is a precursor to a regional transit authority that could eventually oversee the two organizations.
On December 13, the City of Detroit announced that the plans for light rail along Woodward would be cancelled in favor of a regional system of bus rapid transit. The decision was made in discussion with governor Rick Snyder and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. LaHood said that Transportation had "pretty much signed off on their plan." Earlier in 2011, Snyder had proposed a BRT system.
The decision ends more than four years of planning, including a recent environmental study and millions and seed money. The Bing administration made the decision because the City doesn't have a clear revenue stream to pay the estimated $10M in yearly operational costs.
The decision was made by members of the Regional Transportation Authority of Southeast Michigan, which includes representatives from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties. Some regional leaders, including senators and representatives, were left out of the BRT discussions. SEMCOG planners, including Carmine Palombo, may not habe been included in the decision.
Initial plans show 34 stations that cover a much larger area than the rail, including stops at Detroit Metro, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak, Stirling Heights, and other areas. The system is modeled on BRT in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
- Detroit light-rail line plan scrapped for city, suburban buses. Free Press. 13 December 2011.
- Feds will back Metro Detroit regional transit plan; Snyder confident deal close. Detroit News. 13 December 2011.
- Dave Bing: Rapid bus system is a win for metro Detroit. Free Press. 18 December 2011.