Environment Picture
Topic: Transportation Policy

Legislature paves way for faster, more reliable passenger rail

Detroit-Chicago corridor upgrades on the way with Michigan Legislature's approval of matching funds today
Enhanced passenger train service between Chicago and Detroit will become a reality after the Michigan House of Representatives passed today a supplemental appropriation which provides the state match to access $161 million in federal grants awarded to Michigan for the projects.

The grant provides money to upgrade rail stations, purchase track, and rework congestion points to separate passenger and freight trains. The result will be a Detroit-Chicago trip in about four hours – shaving up to 90 minutes off the existing travel time.

“This is great news, a game changer,” said Chris Kolb, Michigan Environmental Council president. “It isn’t just about getting commuters and travelers here faster, it’s about job creation and business growth in communities along the route, reducing traffic congestion and cutting pollution with more efficient transportation options.”

The supplemental appropriation passed the Michigan Senate last week. The appropriation, $39,213,600, includes $18,950,000 in private funds contributed by the Norfolk Southern railroad who currently owns the track.

“We have strong bipartisan support for enhanced passenger rail service, which is vital for Michigan’s economic rebound,” said Kolb. “We appreciate the governor’s leadership in taking this opportunity to move Michigan forward.”

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