MDOT announces $55 million in TIGER grants awarded for Woodward Avenue light rail and Port Huron bridge
February 17, 2010 -- State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle today announced that Michigan is the recipient of $55 million in two federal grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation (US DOT). The Michigan projects were awarded funding under a $1.5 billion nationwide discretionary competitive grant program called "TIGER," or Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced the TIGER grant awards today (more details are available at www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/dot3010a.htm
Proposed light rail service along M-1 (Woodward Avenue) in Detroit will receive a $25 million boost. The project will help transform transportation in Michigan's largest urban area with a proposed 3.4-mile light rail system connecting downtown Detroit to the New Center district along the region's main traffic artery, Woodward Avenue. The TIGER-funded portion of the project will help complete needed roadway reconstruction, community enhancements in conjunction with the construction of the rail line and vehicle acquisition. Twelve stations are planned along the route. The next stage of the project is to obtain environmental clearance and complete design work.
The I-94 Black River Bridge replacement in Port Huron will receive $30 million. This project is the first phase of the Blue Water Bridge plaza expansion, a project to modernize and improve capacity at the nation's second-busiest U.S.-Canadian truck border crossing, and the fourth-busiest traffic crossing between the U.S. and Canada. Annually, over $38 billion in goods cross the Blue Water Bridge and the adjacent I-94/I-69 freeway corridor by truck. The project will completely reconstruct the existing Black River Bridge and add a non motorized path across the river that will connect Port Huron Township with the city of Port Huron.
"The funding announced today by the US DOT is a great shot in the arm for the Black River bridge project," said Steudle. "This is an important part of the Blue Water Bridge plaza overhaul and the first step to getting this major gateway modernized. The project will improve local mobility and safety across the Black River Bridge by separating local Port Huron traffic from international traffic, and will create job opportunities associated with construction on the first phase of the Blue Water Bridge plaza project."
"We're also very pleased that the Woodward Avenue light rail project has received a TIGER grant, which will help leverage $120 million in local and private money investments. The first phase of the project from the Detroit River to New Center looks promising. We look forward to working with our public and private sector partners to advance this project," said Steudle.
Feb. 17 marks the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also known as the Recovery Act, of which TIGER funds are a part. Recovery Act funding put $48 billion to work nationwide to save or create jobs, rebuild highway and bridges, improve and restore transit systems and put rail projects on a new track. In Michigan, the Michigan Department of Transportation was able to get 331 highway projects and 57 transit project under way in 2009, representing $912 million in Recovery funds.
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