Calley O.K.'s funds for accelerated rail project, unemployment insurance interest payments

Friday, Sept. 30, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan will be able to move forward with a planned accelerated rail project and make unemployment insurance interest payments under legislation signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on Thursday.

Senate Bill 237, sponsored by Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Kahn, allocates funds needed to purchase and improve a 135-mile rail line from Kalamazoo to Dearborn, which will allow passage of freight trains and speeds of up to 110 miles per hour for passenger trains.

"The accelerated rail project is a critical investment that will help spur our economy," Calley said.  "Michigan's project share is less than 5 percent, meaning this is a tremendous deal for our state that will boost our economic development efforts and improve quality of life in our communities."

The mid-year supplemental appropriation legislation also includes $38.25 million to make interest payments on money Michigan borrowed from the federal government to cover a shortfall in the state's unemployment insurance fund, as well as $100,000 to cover costs associated with the memorial and internment of former first lady Betty Ford.  The legislation is now Public Act 157 of 2011.

Article V Section 26 of the Michigan Constitution gives authority to the lieutenant governor when the governor is outside the state.  The governor is on a trade mission to Asia until Saturday.

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