Full text: Gov. Rick Snyder makes case for improving Michigan infrastructure
http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf ... _make.html
Michigan currently invests about $16 million per year in rail programs, including funds for operation, grade crossing improvements, economic development programs and management of 540 miles of state-owned rail lines. With the completion of Michigan’s State Rail Plan, required by federal law, the state is now in position to receive additional federal funds.
Rail investment and enhancement will mean that goods can move faster, cheaper, and more reliably, benefiting business productivity and helping create more jobs. In Michigan, railroads are critical to the success of agricultural production, whether they’re hauling inbound fertilizer or outbound grain. Freight rail is not a luxury for the agriculture and agri-business industries – it is a necessity. I am directing the Departments of Transportation and Agriculture & Rural Development to coordinate with the food and agriculture industry to ensure their infrastructure needs are included in economic expansion opportunities.
There are a number of high-value rail freight projects ready and waiting to be implemented. The Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal project is a public-private partnership that needs additional investment to become reality. The Detroit Railroad Tunnel expansion is a private sector project that is also ready to begin. Both projects will help increase the potential for rail shipping in Michigan, which will help remove trucks from our freeways and reduce costly highway congestion, degradation, and pollution. These stand-alone projects could go forward at any time, but implementing them in combination with the New International Trade Crossing will accelerate Michigan’s development as a center of global trade.
Over the past two decades, Michigan has made more than $100 million in incremental investment to improve grade crossings, signals and rail equipment. That relatively small but relentless positive action has paid off in a big way, laying the groundwork and encouraging additional investment that will pay off in an even bigger way in the future, by encouraging development, attracting businesses, and creating jobs.
In addition, there is significant federal support and momentum for the development of accelerated passenger rail service today, and Michigan has already benefitted from that. Provided additional federal funds continue to be available, Michigan will work to develop and support accelerated passenger rail service from Pontiac and Detroit to Chicago, and to initiate Ann Arbor to Detroit and Ann Arbor to Howell commuter rail service.
Thanks to the swift action of the legislature, Michigan has already successfully garnered $440 million in federal rail funds. This money will be used to improve train stations, acquire trains and accelerate rail speeds from Pontiac and Detroit to Chicago. Some of the money will be used to acquire and improve a deteriorating segment of the corridor between Kalamazoo and Dearborn where speeds have actually had to be decreased because of the poor condition of the infrastructure.