Skip to main content

Chicago to Detroit/Pontiac Passenger Rail Corridor Program

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), initiated a program to evaluate passenger rail improvements for the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac passenger rail corridor. The program included three components:

  • An evaluation of potential route and service alternatives for the corridor.
  • A Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement that review the impacts and benefits of the rail service.
  • A Service Development Plan (SDP) that will serve as a business plan for future implementation decisions.

The vision for the corridor included safe and reliable passenger rail service that offers frequent, daily round trips at speeds up to 110 miles per hour. The program would provide sufficient information for the FRA to potentially support future decisions to fund and implement a major investment in the passenger rail corridor. 

The purpose of the program was to improve intercity mobility by providing an improved passenger rail service that would be a competitive transportation alternative to automobile, bus and air service between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac, Michigan.

As an update to the work that was anticipated, MDOT as lead state, in consultation with the FRA, has concluded that continued work at the corridor level would not be beneficial in the longer term and that advancement of work at the project level identified in this plan would be more beneficial. As such, on November 30, 2018, the FRA rescinded the Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS for the Chicago-Detroit/Pontiac corridor originally published in the Federal Register on August 31, 2012.

The FRA will not issue a Final EIS or Record of Decision. They also concluded that this does not prevent future National Environmental Policy Act review of projects within the corridor, if federal funding is received, as defined under the work to date in the Level 1 Alternatives Analysis dated April 2014 and the SDP dated August 2017. 

Work will continue at the project level.

Jeff Martin, Office of Rail