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$244 million high speed rail funds inject crucial investment in future transportation system

Jan 28, 2010
Today, the White House announced it is allocating $244 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for work on a high speed rail corridor in the lower Lake Michigan region. The improvements made to the 300-mile Pontiac-Detroit-Chicago rail corridor with these stimulus funds will lay the groundwork for a 110 mph high speed rail line connecting destinations in Michigan, northern Indiana and northern Illinois.

The Michigan Environmental Council applauds the Obama Administration for making this critical down payment on a prosperous future for our state and our regional economy and for highlighting high speed rail in the President’s State of the Union speech. The timing could not be better for the people of Michigan, who have been hit particularly hard by the recession.

“This is an important beginning to an investment process that can transform our transportation system, and with it, our economy and our impact on the environment,” said Tim Fischer of the Michigan Environmental Council.

Investments in state-of-the-art passenger rail can help speed the way toward a new, robust economic model for the state that will also soften our environmental footprint. High speed rail is about much more than just tracks, trains, and trip times. It’s also about creating thousands of green construction and manufacturing jobs that can help drive a new, clean-energy economy. A regional high speed rail system can revitalize our urban centers, reduce freeway and airport congestion, and boost the use of urban public transit while reducing air pollution and carbon emissions in the process.

With this crucial injection of new funding, the Administration has wisely raised the stakes for high speed rail in Michigan and throughout America. But today’s announcement should be just the first in a series of government commitments to the transportation system of the future. Now it’s up to the state, the Congress and the Administration to sustain the investment flow that will turn the dynamic vision of high speed rail in Michigan and the region into a reality.
Contact
Tim Fischer, Michigan Environmental Council: 517-487-9539
734-255-9206
Chris Kolb, Michigan Environmental Council: 517-487-9539
RELATED TOPICS: transportation policy
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