Green Space: New year, new push for transit

It's tempting to be cynical about efforts to promote transit in the region, after years and years of a strong regional transit system just. not. happening.

But there is real momentum these days, helped in part by exorbitant gas prices and the public's rising concern about global warming. Transportation Riders United (TRU) is the most vocal and visible advocate for mass transit in Southeastern Michigan, and is a credible source for information and analysis about government efforts to secure funding to develop it.

They recently updated their members and supporters with an overview of 2007 in regards to area transit efforts; here is a recap.

Transit czar John Hertel spent 2007 gathering information and talking with government officials and groups like TRU to create "a broad regional plan." 2008 will be spent refining that plan and garnering support for it.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study is making progress on the Detroit/Hamtramck/Highland Park front. Based on extensive information gathered, they have narrowed the number of routes being considered to three (Woodward, Woodward-Michigan Ave. and Woodward-Gratiot) and will announce their "preferred alternative" early this year. Funding comes next; TRU hopes this line will be a reality within five years.

SEMCOG continues efforts to develop two commuter rail lines: Detroit-Airport-Ann Arbor and Livingston-Washtenaw. These lines could be in motion within two years.

TRU is asking the public to fill out a brief survey to determine where the organization should focus its energies in the coming year -- let them know what you think.

Finally, their annual meeting is January 28. Hertel and other key people in the transit arena will be there. Visit TRU's website for more information.

Hopefully, 2008 will be a momentous one in the world of transit.

Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
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