DDA Supports Continuing Connector Study

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board has approved a resolution that expresses notional support, but not does not commit any funding, for the third phase of a study for a high-capacity transportation system – stretching from US-23 and Plymouth southward along Plymouth to State Street, then further south to I-94. The third phase of the study will be an environmental review.

DDA board action came at its April 2, 2014 meeting. The resolution of support will be used as part of an application, due April 28, for a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER 2014 (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant.

The lead agency for the study, which is now in its second phase, is the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. This second phase is an alternatives analysis. The alternatives analysis phase will result in a preferred choice of transit mode (e.g., bus rapid transit, light rail, etc.) and identification of stations and stops. The study first winnowed down options to six different route alignments. At the April 2 meeting, DDA board member Roger Hewitt reported from the technical advisory committee for the study, on which he serves, that those six routes had been further reduced to two possibilities. Additional modeling work is being done on those two alternatives.

Hewitt said at the meeting that the final report on the alternatives analysis would be expected by the end of the summer, adding that the project is over time but under budget.

Hewitt also reported that expectations were low that the federal TIGER grant would be received during this year’s funding round – but said it was important to put the project on the radar of federal agencies.

The first phase of the project – a feasibility study completed in 2011 – concluded that there was sufficient travel demand in the corridor to warrant some kind of high-capacity transit system.

This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., where the DDA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]