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$150M Federal Grant for Kalamazoo-Dearborn High-Speed Rail

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U.S. Rep. John Dingell Monday announced $150 million in federal funding to expand high-speed passenger rail service between Kalamazoo and Dearborn.

The Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center commended the decision.

“The state that led America to the ‘Century of the Automobile’ is now moving forward with high-speed trains,” said Howard Learner, the center’s executive director. “Michigan manufacturers, steel fabricators and parts suppliers are among the biggest beneficiaries of a revitalized rail industry that will ‘buy American’ and create thousands of new jobs. This high-speed rail development will improve mobility, reduce pollution, create jobs and grow Michigan’s economy. It’s part of a structural transformation of our rail system.”

A high-speed rail line between Detroit and Chicago is part of the Midwest High-Speed Rail Network that will connect cities around the region and tie together the regional economy. The grant is one of several the Federal Railroad Administration will announce this week as it rolls out the second round of competitive funding to develop high-speed rail corridors across the nation.

Based on Congressional announcements today, the largest recipients will be Florida at $800 million, California at $902 million for Los Angeles to San Francisco and the Midwest, expected to receive $230 million for Chicago-Iowa City and $150 million for Dearborn-Kalamazoo in Michigan.

Currently, the Obama Administration has invested $10.5 billion in high-speed rail projects, with an additional $1 billion pledged four each of the next four years. The House Transportation Committee has also recommended including $50 billion for high-speed rail development in the upcoming transportation reauthorization legislation.

President Obama recently proposed funding increases for high-speed rail as part of $50 billion in proposed infrastructure improvements. Under that initiative, high-speed rail would be put on an equal footing in the federal surface transportation program. This fundamental policy change would ensure a sustained and effective commitment to a national high speed rail system over the next generation. Specifically, the proposal calls for the nation to build and maintain 4,000 miles of rail.

More at www.highspeedrailworks.org or www.elpc.org.

(c) 2010, WWJ Newsradio 950. All rights reserved.

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