MDOT to stop rail car payments

The Detroit News

A Michigan official confirmed Sunday that the state has reached a tentative agreement to stop making lease payments on train cars that aren’t being used.

As reported by The Detroit News on June 1, the state Department of Transportation are working out the details with Great Lakes Central Railroad, which owns the 23 rail cars.

The lease payments, which are $3,000 a day, would end Sept. 30, The News had reported. The state will maintain a five-year option to reclaim the cars for use for a proposed commuter rail service in southeast Michigan.

The double-decker rail cars, which had been used by a suburban Chicago train service, are sitting at an Owosso train yard.

The state has spent $11.4 million since 2010 to lease and refurbish the cars.

The 2010 deal between the state and the rail car owners became a contentious issue for lawmakers during a failed May 5 ballot proposal to raise taxes and add $1.2 billion to the annual road repair budget.