Woodward Trolley Plan

Pingree's Potato Patch
Studying the Economics of Detroit

According to an article by Bill Shea in Crain's Detroit Business, a plan is floating around for a privately funded commuter rail loop along Woodward Avenue, between Hart Plaza and Grand Boulevard. While I know there have been numerous light rail plans floated in the region, and thus this may or may not have much chance of going anywhere, the group that is serving as a clearinghouse, "Detroit Regional Mass Transit", apparently has backing from significant players in the region. One interesting statement in the article is that "a 3.6-mile streetcar system in Portland, Ore. cost $89 million to build, and then generated $2.2 billion in investment within two blocks of the system over the following nine years..." My first question is whether that was net investment, compared to probable investment without the rail line? How much of it was simply redirected investment from other areas of the city? Personally, I think that expanding public transportation downtown is a no-brainer, but I like the numbers used to promote public investment to add up.

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