Transportation
3:47 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Report: Major Michigan high speed rail announcement coming Monday

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected to visit Detroit Monday to make a "major" high-speed rail announcement.

From the Detroit News:

Last month, Michigan applied for more than $560 million in funding - including joining three other states as part of a joint request. Michigan officials expect the state will receive funding for some grants sought.

The state sought track improvements in Detroit and a new transit terminal in Ann Arbor, and new trains are part of Michigan's pitch for more federal money for high-speed rail after Florida said it didn't want $2.4 billlion.

LaHood is expected to be joined by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and other elected leaders at Detroit's Amtrak station Monday afternoon. LaHood is to make an appearance earlier in the day at New York's Penn Station. Bing's office declined to comment ahead of the announcement.

In the Midwest, there are several sections of rail being improved that will allow trains to travel faster. New money could further develop this system.

It's known as the "Chicago Hub Network" and includes improvements to the rail connections to St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Columbus. From the DOT's website:

Of these, the most highly developed are the three earliest-designated segments: Chicago-Milwaukee, Chicago–St. Louis, and Chicago–Detroit. Significant improvements have occurred or are underway in major components of all three early segments, with operations at 95 mph already possible on Amtrak-owned portions of the Chicago–Detroit route due to an advanced train control system.

The Obama Administration wants to commit $53 billion over the next six years to continue to develop a national high-speed rail network.

With many critics calling some of the lines "fast trains to nowhere," the Administration might have a tough time making the case for high-speed rail to the Republican controlled House of Representatives working toward cutting government spending.