The future of passenger rail service in Michigan may take a big leap forward today. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation will be in Detroit this afternoon for an announcement concerning “high speed rail."
Michigan’s been down this track before. State transportation officials had high hopes last year when the Obama administration planned to invest billions of dollars in developing high speed rail projects across the country.
State officials lobbied hard for the federal government to upgrade the rail link between Detroit and Chicago, so trains could travel between the two cities at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. But, while the administration designated billions of dollars for projects in Illinois, California and Florida. Michigan only received a small amount of money to upgrade some Amtrak stations.
But, Florida’s new governor decided his state didn’t want the two billion dollars the Obama administration was offering. It appears Michigan and New York may end up splitting the money. We’ll find out specifics later today.
Florida’s not the first state to say “no” to federal high speed rail money. Wisconsin and Ohio also declined.
Amtrak reported last month that ridership is rising on all three passenger rail lines it operates in Michigan.