Senators Stabenow & Peters Announce Federal Investment to Expand Passenger Rail Service in Michigan

Friday, December 08, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Gary Peters (MI) announced that the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is receiving federal funding to plan for the development of three intercity rail corridors across Michigan – including new cross-border service to Ontario, Canada. This investment will expand accessible and affordable transportation service between key urban and rural communities throughout the state. The grant funding is made available through the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) Program, which was established by the bipartisan infrastructure law the Senators helped enact.

“This investment will improve the reliability of our passenger trains so that people can count on more convenient schedules and trains that run on time. This is another investment in our state’s infrastructure that is long overdue that was made possible by our passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” said Senator Stabenow. 

“By investing in development of new and improved passenger rail service, we have an opportunity to transform how Michiganders travel across our state and region,” said Senator Peters. “I advocated for each of these MDOT projects because this funding will make rail transportation a more available and reliable option for travelers while spurring economic development.”

“These grants will help the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) develop and update the service development plans for the Amtrak Pere Marquette, Blue Water, and Wolverine routes and collaborate with the Ohio Rail Development Commission on the Detroit-Toledo-Cleveland corridor,” said MDOT Director Bradley C. Wieferich. “We appreciate the work of our federal partners in Congress and the Federal Rail Administration in providing funds to help us identify areas in these rail corridors where we can make investments to improve reliability and reduce bottlenecks.”

Each grantee selected by the FRA receives a $500,000 investment to initiate planning for improvements to existing service and development of new service in intercity passenger rail corridors. This funding will allow MDOT to continue implementation of its Michigan Mobility 2045 Plan, which is aimed at providing increased transportation options for travelers while boosting economic growth in communities across the state. Descriptions of each corridor project that is receiving funding can be found below:

  • Detroit/Pontiac to Chicago Corridor: This project will connect existing service between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac with an extension to Windsor, Ontario.
  • Port Huron to Chicago Corridor: Funding will be used to make rail service more frequent and address on-time performance and reliability.
  • Grand Rapids to Chicago Corridor: This project seeks to expand passenger rail service and increase ridership along the corridor.  

The FRA is also investing in a separate rail project aimed at developing a service route connecting Detroit to Cleveland, OH, which will use an existing alignment including a stop in Toledo. The Corridor ID Program helps guide intercity passenger rail development and creates a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects throughout the country. More information about the program can be found here.