That’s how much is being spent between Chicago and Detroit to improve transit times on a money-losing passenger rail segment.
When U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced (last) week that he was awarding Michigan nearly $200 million for high-speed rail, he claimed that the project would bring “trains up to speeds of 110 mph on a 235-mile section of the Chicago to Detroit corridor, reducing trip times by 30 minutes.” But Michigan’s own grant application says the $196.5 million will only increase average speeds from 60 to 64 mph – with the top speed remaining unchanged at 79 mph. That is, travelers will save a mere 12 minutes – not 30.
In short, anyone who thinks they will soon see bullet trains in Michigan has been misled.
Why the discrepancy between the claimed 110 mph-and-30 and the real 79 mpg-and-12?
Page 12 of the grant application tells the tale: After spending the $197 million, the state is applying for another grant that will require hundreds of millions more to increase speeds to 110 mph.
Together with Michigan’s senators and governor, LaHood’s press conference was an exercise in high-speed deception.
This doesn’t count the cost of locomotives and railcars, which the plan projects will be more than $350 million for enough trains to make 20 daily round trips. Last Monday, the federal government also gave $268.2 million for locomotives and railcars to five Midwestern states. Assuming a third of that goes to the Michigan corridor, the state still needs some $250 million more.