U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded a $196.5 million grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for track and signal improvements between Detroit and Kalamazoo, MI. These improvements will allow for speeds up to 110 mph on 77 percent of Amtrak’s Wolverine and Blue Water services between Detroit and Chicago, resulting in a 30 minute reduction in travel time between those destinations.
“This is an important investment that will reduce travel time, improve reliability and on-time performance, and attract more passengers,” said Secretary LaHood. “We are creating jobs in Michigan, building our rails with American-made materials and growing the regional economy.”
Dollars for this 135 mile segment between Detroit and Kalamazoo will support preliminary engineering, final design and construction. The project includes new, continuously welded rail and ties, fiber optic lines and infrastructure to support a positive train control system, rebuilding 180 highway-rail grade crossings, and gates and flashers at 65 private highway-rail grade crossings. The project will create approximately 800 new jobs during the construction phase, which is expected to begin late spring 2012, and will facilitate service to current and future freight rail customers, including major shippers like Ford Motor Company.