Troy Transit Center construction begins

From MLive:

A rendering of the Troy Transit Center under construction.

Officials broke ground Tuesday on the Troy Transit Center, a federally funded project that at one point appeared dead amid opposition from now-recalled Mayor Janice Daniels.

The 28,000-square-foot center will replace an old Amtrak station on a 2.4-acre site at Maple Road and Coolidge Highway.

Officials hope the $6.3 million project will be completed within a year to serve as a hub for regional high-speed rail and bus transportation.

It will include a 2,000-square-foot building with a waiting area and public restrooms, a pedestrian bridge to the Amtrak platform and parking.

“This important investment in our future will help attract new economic development funding to create more good paying jobs across our region and make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family,” said U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, who helped secure federal funding for the project.

He initially secured an $8.4 million U.S. Transportation Department grant for the center, but after opposition from Daniels and some members of City Council, architects scaled back the plan to $6.3 million, securing a 4-3 vote approving the project early this year.

The unused dollars will be reallocated to other federal transportation projects.

The Troy Chamber of Commerce was charged with crafting a business plan to cover the center’s estimated $31,000 in annual operating costs.

Daniels’ opposition to the project was one of the catalysts for a recall campaign that led to voters removing her from office this month.

The Troy City Council voted this week to appoint Dane Slater mayor through the November 2013, when an election will be held to fill the final two years of Daniels’ term.

The groundbreaking comes as state legislators are being urged to take up bills that would create a regional transit authority.

A number of local transit proposals depend on the legislation, including the planned M-1 streetcar development that would stretch from Detroit’s Downtown to the city’s New Center.

In one unique demonstration planned Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., transit advocates from various Detroit area groups have planned a Motown-inspired musical performance calling for the legislation’s revival at the steps of the state Capitol.