From the Detroit Free Press:
■ M-1 Rail will offer streetcar services along Woodward Avenue from Jefferson downtown to Grand Boulevard in New Center, running about 3 miles with at least 11 stations.
■ Groundbreaking is in the spring. The first passengers could be riding in fall 2016. The cars will run curbside with the flow of traffic on newly laid track.
■ Financed in part by private businesses including Little Caesars, Quicken Loans, Compuware and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the line is touted as essential glue binding together developments taking shape in downtown, Midtown and New Center.
■ A looming question is whether the rail line eventually will expand north and also east and west to serve more people in the region from all walks of life and income levels.
■ The region’s new Regional Transportation Authority, which will work on creating a broader regional transit system, began to organize itself last year with state authorization. But the RTA has yet to hire a CEO or staff, and it lacks a source of funding.
■ The RTA board decided last month to postpone until 2016 a ballot proposal asking for a new tax or fee that could pay for a regional system’s infrastructure and operations.
■ The delay could mean that the greater downtown M-1 line will be up and running before a vote on RTA funding. Transit advocates say that could work in their favor because if the first stretch proves popular, demand might quickly rise to expand it.
M-1 Rail — who’s paying
The M-1 Rail line is funded by a combination of private and public money — making it unique among big-city transit lines. There are more than 20 sources. Here are the main ones and the amount each is giving:
■ $35 million: Kresge Foundation
■ $25 million: U.S. federal transportation grant
■ $9 million: Detroit Downtown Development Authority
■ $6 million: Ilitch Holdings
■ $4 million: Ford Foundation
■ $3 million donors: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Chevrolet division of General Motors, Chrysler Foundation, Compuware, Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, Penske Corp., Quicken Loans, Wayne State University
■ $1 million: Hudson-Webber Foundation