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Granholm Says $161 Million for High-Speed Rail Will be Transformational, Create Jobs

Contact: Janet Foran, MDOT 517-335-7176

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2010

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today applauded the announcement from the Obama administration that Michigan will receive $161.1 million for three grants for high-speed rail projects that will support at least 1,200 jobs.  The grants are part of the Federal Railroad Administration's High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program.  

"This investment is the beginning of a transformation of our state's high-speed rail transportation system, giving people a travel option that is good for jobs, good for business and good for the environment," Granholm said.  "Train travel provides an alternative to highway travel that reduces congestion, energy use and emissions." 

The largest grant, for $150 million, will be used to improve rail services along a 135-mile section of track between Dearborn and Kalamazoo that is currently owned by Norfolk Southern Railway.  The grant includes funding for possible acquisition of track and infrastructure upgrades, including new signals, crossing improvements and technical timing devices called positive train control.  These improvements are intended to stabilize the rail line and restore passenger rail speeds to 79 mph, with future train speeds expected to reach 110 mph on this corridor.  Work could begin as early as summer 2011. 

A second grant for $7.9 million will remove some of the conflicts between rail passenger travel and freight traffic on the West Detroit Connection.  The grant provides funding for building a new bridge over Junction Avenue in west Detroit, constructing 1.3 miles of new connector track, plus construction of three new crossovers and signal improvements.  These upgrades are expected to shave travel time for passenger rail by up to 10 minutes and will connect the high-speed passenger line to the Detroit New Center station. 

The two grants will improve both existing intercity passenger service and future high-speed intercity passenger service, as well as set the stage for regional services such as the proposed Ann Arbor-to-Detroit passenger rail service.  

A third grant, for $3.2 million, will produce a corridor investment plan for the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac high-speed rail corridor.  This includes an environmental impact document that will help pave the way for increased speeds and frequencies on the route.  This is an important step for the overall success of the federally designated 304-mile high-speed rail corridor. 

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