The Environmental Law and Policy Center Thursday praised the Michigan legislature for approving $39 million in state match money to unlock $161 million federal grant for a new high-speed Chicago to Detroit rail corridor.

“Lawmakers in Michigan, and Governor Rick Snyder, rightly recognize that passenger rail is critical to restore the economic health of the region, creating jobs now while putting the infrastructure in place to keep Michigan competitive in the future,” said Kevin Brubaker, ELPC deputy director. “Good policy does indeed make good politics and we hope others will look to Michigan as a role model for bipartisan progress.”

The Environmental Law & Policy is a vocal advocate for improved passenger rail, working closely with lawmakers around the region to establish new service and improve existing rail lines. The rail line between Chicago and Detroit is part of the Midwest High-Speed Rail Network that will connect cities around the region and tie together the regional economy.

Passage of the Michigan House bill Wednesday completed the state’s share of funding for a $358.9 million federal grant that will allow the state to acquire Norfolk Southern Corp.’s Kalamazoo-Dearborn segment of the Chicago-Detroit Wolverine Corridor as well as make improvements to that corridor and replace or rebuild stations. The House bill passed 101-8. The remainder of the $398.1 million cost comes from $20.45 million in local and private funding.

“This is the beginning of a transformative improvement to our nation’s transportation system, giving people a travel option that is good for jobs, good for business, and good for the environment,” Brubaker added. “In this economic climate, taxpayers will maximize the return on their investment because the costs will never be lower and the jobs never more needed, which is why the states are committing scarce dollars to ensure these critical projects are completed.”


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