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Downriver motorists will have to wait longer for relief from long waits for trains.

Commissioner Raymond Basham, D-Taylor - a strong supporter of the proposed grade separation project on Allen Road, just north of Van Horn Road, in Woodhaven - learned Oct. 29 that the U.S. government denied the $15.3 million request for a TIGER, or Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, grant for an underpass.

"I am extremely disappointed that the Allen Road grade separation project was not awarded a federal TIGER grant this year," Commissioner Basham said. "This project has been my top priority since I began serving on the Wayne County Commission. We will continue to work with stakeholders in our region to find a way to make this project a reality."

Allen is a Wayne County road and a major north-south route for the Downriver region. Montreal-based CN has a switching yard just west of the crossing in Flat Rock, and 16 to 18 trains a day go to the yard and block Allen Road, often for 45 minutes or longer.

Nearly 30,000 vehicles cross the tracks every day. It is located just south of a major shopping area, near automotive plants and immediately north of 33rd District Court, which serves seven communities.

Just as importantly, it is also close to Beaumont Hospital-Trenton, Downriver's only Level 2 trauma center. The trains have affected first-responders' ability to get patients there.

Several communities - including Woodhaven, Brownstown Township, Flat Rock and Grosse Ile Township - have expressed support for the $34 million project because it is an issue that affects the entire region. More than $19 million has been committed to the project by Wayne County, the city of Woodhaven and its Downtown Development Authority, CN and the state of Michigan.

The third Allen Road TIGER application for this project was submitted in June by the Wayne County Department of Public Services. A report is at www.openallenroad.com/Narrative.pdf.

Commissioner Basham is in his third term and has been on the Commission since 2011. He represents the 14th District, which covers Brownstown Township, Flat Rock, Rockwood, Taylor and Woodhaven.