$196.5M Finalized for Michigan High-Speed Rail Funding
Funds released Wednesday to the Michigan Department of Transportation are moving construction forward for the Dearborn-Chicago high-speed rail route.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has awarded a $196.5 million grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation for track and signal improvements between Dearborn and Kalamazoo.
These improvements will allow for speeds up to 110 mph on 77 percent of Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water services between metro Detroit and Chicago, resulting in a 30-minute reduction in travel time between those destinations.
“This is an important investment that will reduce travel time, improve reliability and on-time performance, and attract more passengers,” said Secretary LaHood in a statement. “We are creating jobs in Michigan, building our rails with American-made materials and growing the regional economy.”
Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow celebrated the approval–and the jobs and opportunities it will create for southeast Michigan.
"Construction of new high-speed lines will create jobs and generate more business activity in Michigan," Sen. Stabenow said in a statement. "This effort will not only boost our economy, it will provide residents with more transportation options."
"This funding will help move Michigan and the nation forward by making high-speed rail a part of our economic infrastructure," added Sen. Levin. "Our economic competitors around the world have long enjoyed the benefits of high-speed rail service between their cities. They have demonstrated that high-speed service can create jobs and promote economic growth, and that it can provide a more energy-efficient alternative."
In addition, MDOT is designated to receive $150 million DOT grant later this year to purchase this 135 mile segment of track, when grant conditions are met. This will allow for the implementation of 110 mph service along the corridor that will bring improved passenger service, ensure capacity for freight operations through double tracking on the busiest freight segment and deliver long-term economic benefits to the State of Michigan.