A regional transit plan for the Detroit area could begin to take shape by April with the creation of regional transportation authority that would build and operate the system.

Metro Detroit transit czar John Hertel, who is in charge of the transit project, said he would likely propose a structure for the authority by April, according to reports. Legislators and regional leaders from the three counties involved in the system would need to approve the agency’s creation.

The mixed system of improved and expanded bus service, light rail, and commuter trains — based in Detroit but encompassing surrounding areas — could span 400 miles and cost $10.5 billion, according to estimates.

Hertel said the transit authority would need to convince voters of surrounding Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties to approve a new transit tax to finance the system.

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