State awarded federal grant for railway improvements

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

The state is being awarded up to $1.6 million in federal grant funding to improve and update its intercity passenger rail service, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office and the U.S. Department of Transportation said Friday. 

The funds will help to further improve the Detroit/Pontiac to Chicago Accelerated Rail Corridor, Whitmer said in a press release, with the Federal Railroad Administration awarding the Michigan Department of Transportation up to $1.6 million for the Michigan Accelerated Rail Bridge Reconstruction Project.

The project is for preliminary engineering and preparation for National Environmental Policy Act documents to rebuild five deficient bridge structures on the MDOT-owned portion of the rail corridor between Kalamazoo and Dearborn, the state said. 

This corridor is used by Amtrak's Wolverine and Blue Water services and Norfolk Southern Railroad freight trains.

“This latest grant is further proof that the federal government recognizes Michigan is making smart investments in its rail system,” said Zach Kolodin, chief infrastructure officer at the Michigan Infrastructure Office, in a statement.

Kolodin added that since 2018, the state has won seven federal grants, totaling more than $85 million to support railways here.  

"Investment in rail, one of the most environmentally friendly and economical modes of transportation, is important to residents and travelers in the state of Michigan," said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner in a statement. "The advancement of a project like this will not only improve our nation's transportation infrastructure, but will also contribute to the economic competitiveness of the corridor."