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MICHIGAN FILES FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL CORRIDOR DESIGNATION

 MICHIGAN FILES FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL CORRIDOR DESIGNATION
 DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- High-speed rail travel in


Michigan received a hefty boost today when the Michigan Department of Transportation (M-DOT) filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation requesting the rail corridor between Detroit and Chicago be designated as a high-speed rail corridor. It is the first step in the eventual development of trains going in excess of 150 mph along the route.
 State Transportation Director Patrick Nowak and U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Trenton) announced the filing at a news conference at the Dearborn Amtrak station.
 "I am pleased with this bi-partisan effort to make Michigan first," said Gov. John Engler. "This means economic growth and jobs for Michigan citizens."
 The action stems from a provision in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991 which authorizes up to $5 million per year for six years to five designated corridors. Funds may be used for such improvements as rail/highway crossing safety upgrading, track and signaling to allow Amtrak to increase train speeds.
 U.S. Rep Dingell chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over railroads, and authored the provision in the ISTEA to establish up to five high-speed rail corridors.
 "Michigan's congressional delegation and the state Department of Transportation have worked closely with my office on this project. This investment will produce a substantial dividend for Michigan," said Gov. Engler.
 "If selected as a high-speed corridor, Michigan will continue to be in the vanguard of rail transportation," said U.S. Rep. Dingell. "It will be a major advance for transportation in Michigan.
 "Ridership on the Detroit-Chicago route has seen tremendous growth as more people turn to rail passenger as a preferred means of transportation. Not only will this boost the state economy, but it also will help reduce congestion on highways and airports."
 Dingell is encouraging the U.S. DOT to act on the applications soon.
 Michigan has invested more than $135 million in improvements along the Detroit-Chicago corridor, nearly all in grade crossings, equipment, passing track and terminal upgrading through the combined efforts of M-DOT, Conrail and Amtrak.
 If the route is approved as a high-speed rail corridor, M-DOT, working with the U.S. DOT, Amtrak and Conrail, will make required improvements to raise train speed limits in increments over various sections. The current maximum speed along the Detroit-Chicago route is 79 mph.
 Amtrak serves about 400,000 Michigan travelers in 13 communities annually.
 -0- 8/31/92
 /CONTACT: Phil Kazmierski, 517-373-2282, or Dennis Fitzgibbons, 313-846-1276, both of M-DOT/ CO: Michigan Department of Transportation ST: Michigan IN: TRN SU:


SB-ML -- DE021 -- 5076 08/31/92 15:43 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 31, 1992
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