With video: Ann Arbor-to-Detroit rail project part of Senate spending bills
After the Senate passed a $636-billion defense bill Saturday, the Detroit Free Press tallied all the Michigan-specific items in all the spending bills.
One highlight for the Washtenaw County area:
â€¢ $3.5 million for the Ann Arbor-to-Detroit rail project.
The Free Press has a searchable database of all of the Michigan earmarks.
According to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, the current project is to provide commuter rail service in the Detroit-Ann Arbor corridor with stops in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Dearborn and Detroit. The project takes advantage of existing infrastructure where possible and requires adding new station stops in Ypsilanti and at Detroit Metro Airport, SEMCOG says.
The project is being managed by SEMCOG along with partners that include representatives of all communities in the corridor, Wayne and Washtenaw County officials, state and federal representatives, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the local transit operators (AATA, DDOT, and SMART), Amtrak, representatives of Norfolk Southern (NS) and Canadian National (CN) Railroads, and members of the business community.
An October update of the project indicates a timeline of October 2010 to get the line up and running. That update says the project has completed several milestones:
â€¢ MDOT has contracted with Great Lakes Central Railroad to lease and refurbish the rail cars. The first set is expected to be delivered in early 2010 with the remainder being delivered by the end of the year for both the Ann Arbor - Detroit and the WALLY commuter rail service.
â€¢ SEMCOG and MDOT are working with the host communities of all five stations to identify necessary improvements and establish standards that meet all system performance, safety, and ADA requirements. Station designs for Ypsilanti and the Metro Airport station are being developed and will be presented to the community representatives for feedback.
â€¢ Designs for tracks to store trains when not in use are also being developed for Ann Arbor and Detroit and will be presented to the community representatives and host railroads for feedback.
SEMCOG and MDOT are expected to meet with communities in the coming months as the project moves forward.
Watch a SEMCOG video explaining the project: