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MEC statement on $150 million in federal high speed rail funds announced today

State needs to provide $30 milliion in matching funds
Oct 25, 2010
High speed railroad passenger service between Detroit and Chicago is one step closer after the announcement today of $150 million in federal grants awarded to Michigan for the project.

The grant provides money to upgrade rail stations, purchase track, and rework congestion points to separate passenger and freight trains. The result would be a Detroit-Chicago trip in less than four hours – shaving 90 minutes off the existing travel time.

“This is great news, a game changer,” said Chris Kolb, Michigan Environmental Council president. “It isn’t just about getting commuters and travelers there faster, it’s about job creation and business growth in communities along the route, reducing traffic congestion and cutting pollution with more efficient transportation options.”

The grant application was endorsed by 61 Michigan state representatives who signed a letter of support that was delivered to the U.S. Department of Transportation by Congressman Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek.

Kolb said the grant award from the Federal Rail Administration is contingent on $30 million in matching money from the state. That money will be provided with passage of legislation – HB 6484 introduced by Rep. Wayne Schmidt – that allows bonding to secure the matching funds.

 “We have strong bipartistan support for high speed rail, which is vital for Michigan’s economic rebound,” said Kolb. “So we expect the legislature to step up and take advantage of the opportunity to move Michigan forward.”
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