FRA gives details on $161 million award for Amtrak service along the Detroit-Chicago corridor

Obama Administration’s vision for high-speed rail will transform travel in America, create manufacturing jobs, and spur economic development. In January 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $8 billion to states across the country to develop America’s first nationwide high-speed intercity passenger rail service through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Chicago – Detroit – Pontiac corridor, which received approximately $244 million from the Recovery Act, connects Chicago and Detroit and several intermediate destinations including Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor, MI. The corridor serves communities in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan and connects them to the Chicago Hub via six round trips per day.

The $161 million in FY 2010 awards will continue laying the groundwork for the long-term vision of the corridor, which includes: doubling the number of daily round trips between Detroit and Chicago; increasing speeds to 110 miles per hour in order to reduce trip times; and relieving railroad congestion by addressing a series of major chokepoints.

Summary of Corridor Investments

Kalamazoo – Detroit – Pontiac: through FY 2010 awards, a $150 million grant will allow the Michigan Department of Transportation to purchase and restore 135 miles of rail line between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. An additional $7.9 million FY 2009 grant will pay for new connecting track and crossovers, a new bridge, and a new rail traffic control system in western Detroit. 

These projects will signicantly improve efficiency and safety while reducing passenger travel times along the corridor.

These investments will build on prior Recovery Act awards that are renovating stations in Troy and Battle Creek and constructing a new station in Dearborn.

Chicago – Kalamazoo:  through FY 2010 awards, a $3.2 million grant will help the state complete planning and environmental studies for high-speed rail operations on the Chicago – Detroit – Pontiac corridor. These investments will build on prior Recovery Act awards that are helping to build a flyover, approach bridges, embankments, and retaining walls in Chicago. These projects will reduce congestion and allow trains to travel 40 percent faster south of Chicago while setting the stage for the future construction of three new tracks for trains traveling east of Lake Michigan.

Additional Recovery Act money is improving the most congested and delay-prone corridor in the entire country, a segment between Porter, IN and Chicago. The project will install high-speed crossovers and signal system improvements, make rail line additions at two new locations, and create new passing tracks. Passengers traveling from communities in Michigan and Indiana to Chicago will experience significant increases in service and reliability.