Jan 25, 2024 - News

New Center transit funds remain untapped

The original proposed location of the New Center transit hub at the existing Amtrak station at Woodward and Baltimore avenues. Photo: Joe Guillen/Axios

The original proposed location of the New Center transit hub at the existing Amtrak station at Woodward and Baltimore avenues. Photo: Joe Guillen/Axios

A $10 million federal grant the state was awarded in 2021 for a New Center transit hub is still entirely unspent as public officials consider alternative locations for a potential hub.

Why it matters: The city needs a new central location to better connect train and expanding bus services, but the untapped funds underscore the uncertainty surrounding the effort.

  • MDOT did not provide a deadline for spending the grant, which would be rejected if a new location is picked.

Flashback: The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded MDOT the $10 million grant to help build a New Center Intermodal Facility at the site of the existing Amtrak station at Woodward and Baltimore.

  • The proposed facility would combine rail, intercity bus lines such as Greyhound and ride-hailing operators like Uber and Lyft.

State of play: MDOT told Axios this month that the New Center project was on hold, but the department's explanation was vague.

The latest: "It would be irresponsible to invest public funds in something that is not widely supported by the community," MDOT spokesperson Jeff Cranson said via text Wednesday.

  • MDOT is committed to finding a new intermodal site in partnership with the city and others, he said.
  • Mayor Mike Duggan's office did not respond to Axios' requests for comment.

Quick take: Support for the New Center site appears to be fractured among residents and stakeholders. Another potentially preferable location, such as Michigan Central Station after its expected opening this summer, could also be driving uncertainty.

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