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Michigan will get nearly $200 million in federal funding to make high-speed rail a reality — and to help build a new bus and train station in Ann Arbor, the U.S. Transportation Department announced this morning.

The bulk of the funds — $196.5 million — is to help retrofit a 135-mile section of the Kalamazoo to Dearborn track for high-speed rail service. In total, this will eventually allow trains to travel 110 miles an hour on 235 miles between Chicago and Detroit, the government said.

The Obama administration has now invested $11 billion in rail service, the government said.

“High-speed rail is coming to America. There is no going back,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told reporters on a conference call. The administration wants to get Americans “on trains, off of congested highways, out of their cars — particularly when gas prices are higher.”

Ahead of his speech in Detroit, he touted “the integral part that Detroit to Chicago plays in our Midwest high-speed rail plan. … Detroit to Chicago is a critical link.”

Read the rest of this article in the Detroit News.

Reposted from our partners at Transportation Riders United (TRU)

As reported by the Detroit News, Michigan among states vying for $2.4B for high-speed rail:

Michigan and 23 other states have submitted applications for high-speed rail funding after Florida returned money it was allocated.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s office said the state sought more than $200 million for four projects, including $196.5 million for a program to complete a “corridor enhancement program over the next three years between Kalamazoo and Dearborn” and would allow trains to travel up to 110 mph in that stretch.

Tim Hoeffner, MDOT administrator, said the improvement could be completed by the end of 2013 and shave 50 minutes off the Detroit-Chicago train trip – reducing it to about four hours.

“Governors and members of Congress have been clamoring for the opportunity to participate. That’s because they know that high-speed rail will deliver tens of thousands of jobs, spur economic development across their communities and create additional options for their citizens as the country’s population grows,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

In addition to the potential funding, this is also exciting because it clearly demonstrates support from Governor Snyder for high speed rail, for which he has only shown lukewarm support in the past.  This bodes well!

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