Beginning Tuesday, the subsidy that Amtrak gets from the state of Michigan is about to triple, from $8 million to nearly $25 million a year.
The reason for the increase is a 2008 federal law that requires greater cost sharing between the federal government and the states where Amtrak operates.
Tim Hoeffner is the director of the Office of Rail in the Michigan Department of Transportation. He says MDOT hopes to reduce the state subsidy by improving train service. The Wolverine line between Detroit and Chicago is undergoing improvements that should greatly increase train speeds through southern Michigan.
“Reducing the travel time. Increasing the reliability. And later increasing the frequencies,” says Hoeffner.
Nearly 800 thousand people rode Amtrak trains in Michigan in 2012 and that was a record high number.