Michigan transit projects expected to get more funding

From the Detroit Free Press

Chances rose today for an infusion of federal money for transit projects in Michigan after the Obama administration signaled a change in how it will fund major public transportation initiatives.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said new transit funding guidelines will place a greater emphasis on “livability issues,” including whether projects provide economic development and environmental benefits. LaHood said the projects’ costs and the commuting time they save will still be considered, but those two factors will no longer be the primary criteria, a restriction enacted under former President George Bush.

“I’ll make sure those investments in manufacturing help our most distressed communities in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere,” LaHood said in remarks prepared for a luncheon during the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

Additional federal funding could boost efforts to build a light rail along Woodward in Detroit and a high-speed rail between Detroit and Chicago.