Chicago-Detroit High-Speed Rail Line Gets $196M
Friday, October 7, 2011
Less than a week after Michigan legislators approved the state’s portion of funding for enhanced passenger rail, Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood released the $196 million federal award that will reduce train travel time by 30 minutes between Detroit and Chicago.
The project will create approximately 800 new jobs during the construction phase, which is expected to begin late spring 2012, and will facilitate service to current and future freight rail customers, including major shippers like Ford Motor Company. The money will be used for track and signal improvements between Detroit and Kalamazoo, Mich., allowing for speeds up to 110 mph on 77 percent of Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water services between Detroit and Chicago. The net result is a 30 minute reduction in travel time between those destinations.
“Michigan’s elected officials have put the needs of their constituents above partisan bickering. They have recognized that transportation is a bipartisan concern. By working together across party lines, they have allowed Washington to lay the tracks for Michigan’s economic future,” said ELPC Executive Director Howard Learner.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder summarized the issue. “Investing in rail service will spark economic development in communities along a corridor linking Detroit and Chicago, two vital Midwest cities,” Snyder said. “A faster, reliable passenger rail system is a priority for younger generations and vital to Michigan’s ability to compete globally as businesses look to locate or expand. The rail improvements will also hasten the transport of freight, a priority for Ford Motor Company and other Michigan businesses along the route.”
ELPC is a vocal advocate for improved passenger rail, working closely with lawmakers around the region to establish new service and improve existing rail lines. The rail line between Chicago and Detroit is part of the Midwest High-Speed Rail Network that will connect cities around the region and tie together the regional economy.
Visit www.highspeedrailworks.org for more information.