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Planned road improvements to help Cobo keep
North American International Auto Show in Detroit
- Cobo Convention and Conference Center needed to make major road improvements in order to better compete for national conventions and keep the North American International Auto show located in downtown Detroit.
- Five projects will support decision to keep prestigious Auto Show at Cobo through 2017.
- Projects to receive $2,586,500 in state Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A funding.
January 17, 2012 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) today announced the awarding of a $2,586,500 state Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) grant for a project that will help enable the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority (DRFCA) to make long-needed transportation improvements to the Cobo Convention and Conference Center in downtown Detroit. The grant will be used to help leverage $279 million in local investment, supporting the creation of 100 new jobs and the retention of 253 existing jobs.
The DRFCA was established in 2009 to oversee the Cobo Convention and Conference Center, home to the North American International Auto Show and other events that draw more than a million visitors to the Metro Detroit area each year. In 2010, the DRFCA developed a strategic plan with the goal of improving and expanding Cobo to better compete for national conventions. The plan noted a number of transportation deficiencies that the DRFCA has been trying to address to improve access. These include improving parking for large events, improving passenger drop-off areas, and creating a safer, more efficient means of loading and unloading trucks. The DRFCA initiated an aggressive $279 million program to update and improve the facility's ability to attract new event business.
The plan noted a number of deficiencies in the transportation network that allows vehicles to enter and exit the facility. In order to address these issues, the city of Detroit has proposed five projects that will receive TEDF Category A funding. One project involves adding new pavement markings on Congress Street, between Second Street and Third Street, including new signs to improve access to the Cobo Center parking deck. The second project involves the city installing new traffic signals at the intersection of Congress Street and First Street to provide access into a new parking garage that is being built under the Detroit facility. The third project involves improving access for passenger drop-off at the facility and realigning and resurfacing Civic Center Drive between the West Jefferson service drive and Atwater Drive. To accommodate the construction of a new truck ramp to the Cobo freight docks, a 600-foot section of Yzerman Drive will be realigned in the fourth project. Finally, the city will widen the intersection of Yzerman Drive and Jefferson Avenue to accommodate future freight access to the center. The DRFCA will provide $857,380 in matching funds for the projects.
"The Authority is pleased to learn that MDOT is awarding a grant to the city of Detroit to improve streets around the Cobo Convention Center. Such enhancements are extremely beneficial to the area and consistent with the economic benefits and business retention, which is the focus of the Authority's ongoing capital improvements and upgrades at Cobo," said Larry Alexander, DRFCA chairman and president of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. "This is great news for the Motor City. This partnership on transportation improvements will help keep the North American International Auto Show and other major conventions headquartered in Detroit," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle.
Enacted in 1987 and reauthorized in 1993, the TEDF was created to provide funding for highway, road and street projects that encourage private investment in Michigan that will create or support jobs. The TEDF "Category A," or "Target Industries Program," provides funding for transportation improvements that will help accommodate increased traffic and provide commercial routes that are safe and more efficient for new and expanding companies. Eligible road agencies include MDOT, county road commissions, cities and villages.
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