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Whitmer Announces Federal Grant to Upgrade Intercity Passenger Rail


August 19, 2022 



Gov. Whitmer Announces Federal Grant to Upgrade Intercity Passenger Rail 

LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced a grant award of $1.6 million to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program (Partnership Program) funds to improve and modernize the State of Michigan’s intercity passenger rail service.  

"Yesterday's $1.6 million investment will help provide further improvements to the Detroit/Pontiac to Chicago Accelerated Rail Corridor," said Governor Whitmer. "I am proud of the Michigan Department of Transportation for winning these competitive grants that will benefit both passenger and freight trains that use this vital route. These resources will help us continue growing Michigan's economy, supporting good-paying jobs, and investing in every region of our great state. Michigan is a leader for all transportation modes, and we will build our leadership by competing for infrastructure grants to move Michigan forward."

"We have a responsibility to strengthen our decades-old infrastructure to make our neighbors safer, create jobs and grow the local economy, improve commute times, and connect our communities," said U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich. "I'm proud to help deliver federal funding to our region to do just that and connect these two great cities. This grant, along with the $563.1 million we got in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Michigan bridges, will help keep our residents and visitors safely on the move. The recent repair and reopening of the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge underscored the urgent need of these investments and demonstrated the good we can get done when we work together across all levels of government. This State of Good Repair funding allows us to continue that much-needed work, and I look forward to continuing to partner with stakeholders across the board to upgrade and modernize Michigan’s infrastructure."

"I have highlighted and will continue to highlight the need for serious work on infrastructure in Michigan," said U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich. "Amtrak provides an important link between Kalamazoo and the Detroit area, and on to Chicago and points west. Ensuring these bridges remain in service, and trains can at least maintain current speeds, is critical to the viability of passenger rail service in Michigan. Ultimately, this should help with getting high-speed rail across Michigan."

FRA awarded MDOT up to $1.6 million for the Michigan Accelerated Rail Bridge Reconstruction Project. The proposed project will fund preliminary engineering and preparation of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for a proposed program of rebuilding five deficient bridge structures located on the MDOT-owned segment of the rail corridor between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. The corridor is used by Amtrak's Wolverine and Blue Water services and Norfolk Southern Railroad freight trains. The project would allow the state to avoid future bridge closures, improve reliability, and increase load ratings and the work is necessary to maintain existing speeds and trip times on the segment. Amtrak and MDOT will provide a 25 percent match.

“This latest grant is further proof that the federal government recognizes Michigan is making smart investments in its rail system,” said Zach Kolodin, Chief Infrastructure Officer for the State of Michigan Infrastructure Office. "Since 2018, the State of Michigan has won seven federal grants, totaling over $85 million to support its railways, six of which will support intercity passenger rail. That funding represents a significant investment in the future of Michigan's rail system and will give us the momentum we need to modernize existing railways, improve travel times, and provide more efficient and reliable service than ever before."

"This federal grant award will aid in funding the initial engineering and preparation of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for this proposed project," said Peter Anastor, MDOT Office of Rail Director. "Bringing the Detroit/Pontiac-to-Chicago accelerated corridor to a state of good repair by reducing the maintenance backlog and improving safety has been a long-term goal of MDOT. All this work will ultimately improve the experience for Michigan rail passengers."

"Investment in rail, one of the most environmentally friendly and economical modes of transportation, is important to residents and travelers in the state of Michigan," said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. "The advancement of a project like this will not only improve our nation's transportation infrastructure, but will also contribute to the economic competitiveness of the corridor."

More information about the Partnership Program can be found on the following fact sheet from FRA's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law webpage. A full list of projects can also be found on FRA's website.