Detroit (WXYZ) - Calling it an "unprecedented private-public partnership," Roger Penske told Detroit City Council the M-1 Rail project should be a home run for the city.
“There’s a case that this will be a great economic motivator to tie together businesses on the north end obviously to the south end," Penske told reporters after providing council with a update on the development of the light rail system. “We’ve seen following the Super Bowl, we have buildings that we boarded up during that period of time that are now lofts and apartments for so many people. We think this will have the same impact.”
Penske serves as M-1 Rail board chair. The project will put 3.3 miles of light rail on Woodward Avenue. Officials project 6,000 riders a day when the system initially comes online in the second half of 2016. They expect it to expand to 10,000.
“This is really the key piece of the city of Detroit from a density standpoint, said Matt Cullen, CEO of M-1 Rail. " It connects up to the Amtrak station, it connects all the great things happening downtown.”
Cullen told council the project would generate 700 construction jobs. About 45 permanent operational jobs will be created once construction is complete.
“We have seen in communities across the country that they expand once they get started," Cullen said. "We want to get started. We want to put a shovel in the ground or a rail in place.”
Construction will begin sometime this spring.