The state of Michigan is making moves to purchase and rehabilitate the Norfolk Southern Railway line that passes through Ann Arbor— another positive sign for high-speed rail.
A Senate appropriations bill including nearly $400 million in rail-related spending is expected to move on the floor of the state House this week, and it’s expected to pass.
“This legislation is the first step towards accepting the hundreds of millions of dollars our Congressional delegation has secured for Michigan’s rail infrastructure,” said state Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, calling it good news for the I-94 corridor and the entire state.
“I applaud the Senate’s leadership on this issue and I’m thankful that our governor has been making supportive signals on rail,” Irwin said. “Hopefully the bill will be on the House floor soon and we’ll take action on this opportunity to secure a big investment in Michigan’s economic development.”
The state Senate’s approval of the spending plan was seen as one of the last major hurdles to upgrading the tracks between Detroit and Chicago to 110 mph — from 60 mph. That came on Thursday when the Senate voted 30-6 in favor of Senate Bill 237.
Rail proponents expect the high-speed rail program in Michigan will go forward now, and say the state’s control of the east-west track bodes well for plans to enhance passenger rail services.