On Saturday, the town of Normal, Illinois, dedicated their new transit center, Uptown Station. It's not just an Amtrak+Intercity+Transit bus station, it's the hub of a new development center in town that has attracted millions of dollars in new building thanks to the promise of higher speed rail on the Chicago-St. Louis corridor. This is precisely the sort of transit-oriented development that Wake Up Washtenaw was founded to advocate.
What especially interested me was something said by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood (former Republican U.S. Representative from Illinois). You can see a TV report on the dedication at the Secretary's official blog site (linked below).
Everywhere that I go where people make progress, everywhere that I go where people solve problems, it's because communities come together. They work together. They have an agenda. Everybody knows what the agenda is. People set aside their own egos and their own personal agendas for the common good.
I'm convinced that's the real reason Detroit hasn't gotten the funds for the M1 streetcar. Yes, the business plan was probably skimpy in details, but the underlying reason why LaHood has serious doubts about the Detroit metro area is the inability to "set aside their own egos and their own personal agendas for the common good".
"A house divided against itself cannot stand". And apparently it can't build modern, effective transit, either.
To learn more:
- "Smart planning is the new Normal", July 15, 2012. Fast Lane, The Official Blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.