Right now I’m trying to do some testing with my old blog (which would explain why I’ve been posting there for the past few days). In any case, this article is really interesting and needs to be shared….

Via the Detroit Free Press: Ferndale to Consider Privately Financed Transit System.

Executives from Interstate Traveler Co., an Oakland County partnership who say they are backed by major investors,will be at Ferndale City Hall (tonight) when city officials are expected to pass a resolution endorsing a privately financed test of an elevated rail system on Woodward. Executives leading the partnership estimate the pilot project would cost $10 million per mile. Their pilot project would begin on Woodward at 9 Mile and extend for several miles north or south, depending on which adjoining communities are receptive. They say they have no money in hand but have lined up likely investors, whom they decline to name but who include some of the firm’s board members.

Ferndale officials and other mass-transit advocates have said they oppose the roughly $1 billion planned this decade for adding a lane each way to I-75 in Oakland County and for modifying feeder roads. They want that money to go toward mass transit. Executives with Interstate Traveler, which is based in Whitmore Lake, have promoted their design as one that ultimately could pay its way by producing more hydrogen fuel than the system needs, but only after a big initial investment in highly advanced technology.

The high-tech system would include solar panels generating electricity used to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen would supply energy for stainless-steel train cars that could be powered by fuel cells, turbine engines or internal combustion engines, and the cars would run free of friction on elevated rails via what science fiction writers have long dreamed of, and which now is used by transit systems in China and Japan—magnetic levitation.

Wow, this is really impressive.  This past fall I attended the Transportation Riders United’s conference, “Transit on the Woodward Corridor: Our Economic Engine,” at Wayne State University in Detroit.  The idea of an elevated light rail system stretching along Woodward Ave., from Detroit to Pontiac, was proposed as a way to both provide mass transit to residents and stoke the economic engines of the region.  According to the planners and architects (many of them quite influential) who delivered presentations on the subject, the implementation of the light rail system coupled with new urbanist (re)development along the corridor would make the region a more desirable place to live and work.  I’m curious to see how MDOT reacts to this proposal…