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Posted on Fri, May 6, 2011 : 7:55 p.m.

Michigan and U.S. officials to make 'major announcement' about high-speed rail on Monday

By Staff

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will join several of Michigan's top leaders in Detroit on Monday for what a news release says will be a "major announcement" involving high-speed rail.

Michigan officials are seeking federal funding for $200 million for four projects. They include a $3.5 million transit terminal in Ann Arbor and improvements to the rail between Kalamazoo and Dearborn.

According to a report in the Detroit News, the state's overall funding application for high-speed rail projects totals $560 million, a total that includes joint requests with other states.

The release says Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow will join LaHood at the Detroit Amtrak terminal on Monday afternoon for the announcement. Also present will be Gov. Rick Snyder.

The city and the University of Michigan have collaborated on a vision for a new transit center on Fuller Road near the University of Michigan Hospitals.

Meanwhile, recent Amtrak data shows that Ann Arbor is the busiest stop on the rail line between Detroit and Chicago.


Michael Long

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:02 a.m.

All of you who are complaining about tax money being used to build the Fuller Road structure seem to have missed the fact that the University will be paying 75% of the costs and therefore, 75% of the spaces will be allocated to University permit parking. Also, all of this so called "park land" is already a paved parking lot and has been for about 20 years. I might also add that the commuters who use that lot are almost all empoyees of the hospital. I, for one, am a nurse in the burn ICU and commute from South Lyon because I can't afford to live within Ann Arbor city limits. And I PAY for the "privilege" of parking, as UM is one of the only hospitals in the area which charges it's employees to park, regardless of distance (yes, we even have to pay if we have permits to park at Crisler Arena or Glazier Way). You don't want to help defray the cost of providing parking for your health care workers? Fine, try to find enough registered nurses who live inside city limits to staff the hospital.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

If Snyder is accepting some of Florida's returned (thanks but no thanks) rail funds, then hopefully they will be applied to one time fix ups and not projects such as the proposed commuter train that will require annual subsidies that the state can not afford. I am amazed at all the commenters who are against the state's proposed budget cuts, yet are all excited about the state committing more funds to train travel. What part of the state budget are you willing to cut or cut further to make this happen? Education? Social services? Then we have the city of Ann Arbor which hasn't even finished building the huge Library Lot and is already finalizing plans for the 1,600 space Fuller Station parking structure. Preparing to spend another $10 million plus on yet another parking structure while currently negotiating tough budget cuts across the board is disingenious at best. Giving away parkland for free for out of town UM commuters cars is a slap in the face to Ann Arbor taxpayers.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

High Speed rail to Chicago? Hell yes!!!


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 6:36 p.m.

You don't understand. Rail travel is a win-win regardless of how many riders there are. Let me explain. Any construction, like for a new station, or new tracks, will be done by dues paying union members. Those unions will make contributions to the politicians that approve these projects. The operation of the train is also done by dues paying union members. Those unions will also make contributions to the politicians that will vote to borrow more money to pay for the operation of the rail system. The only people that lose are taxpayers, and our grandchildren who will have to pay back the money that was borrowed to fund the construction and operation of the system.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

...ran out of space because of my long-windedness. A great question is, what would happen that would stop this? What scenario would result in their stopping spending millions of dollars on this? A study already said there's no justification, so they use a different study. For recouping expenses they say maybe they can charge Amtrak for parking (150 spaces, and that's in 20 years). Any direct question about actual evidence that this is necessary, or even advisable, is answered with vague notions about old studies that show interest in things like this. Bike enthusiasts have shown no interest in the "shower" facilities. The bike racks at the hospital never have more than 3 bikes on them NOW. There is an enormous abandoned parking lot right next to the current train station that exists to address parking needs. This whole affair is disingenuous at BEST. The city is screaming about this financial budget crisis every day, from withing their NEW multi-million dollar building, we're laying off cops and firefighters, trying to institute a new income tax, and now here's a multimillion dollar train station 200 yards from an existing one, to provide for the overly optimistic idea that we'll use it for the 18,900 new workers over the next 30 years. This is corruption, people. This goes beyond mismanagement. Some people want this done, and no proof that it isn't needed will stop them. This would be dumb even in our economic heyday. I am disgusted., find out what event or scenario would actually stop this from going forward; I'm guessing there isn't one.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

There is an existing train station 200 yards from where this Fuller Road &quot;Potential&quot; station will be built. I encourage people to watch/listen to some of the questions and answers about this at the meeting in Feb 2010: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> 49 minutes 24 seconds in: Question was what evidence there was that this station will have people taking buses/trains instead of driving; answer was that around 10 years ago there was study that showed &quot;interest&quot; in train from Lansing to Detroit 52 minutes 45 seconds: need for parking was defined as Amtrak having 75 parking spots now, but they projected to &quot;possibly&quot; need 150 by 20 YEARS from now. They are supporting this tremendous enormous expense for 75 spots over 2 decades? 56 minutes 25 seconds: a study resulted in a recommendation to NOT pursue this, as ridership did not justify it. So the solution was to do it ANYWAY as a &quot;demonstration project&quot;, to PROVE that regardless of the study, we needed to do it. That's right, they were told there was no evidence that this was feasible or necessary, and the decision is to do it, and relying on the resulting ridership to prove that we did need to do it. 1 hour 48 seconds: to justify perceived need for the station, they cite an economic forecast that over the next 30 years Ann Arbor will have 18,900 new jobs, but only 1800 new residents. So they need to have mass transit to supply transportation for all these people (who won't drive because of the previous assumption that this station will have everyone biking and bussing and training; you know, from that detroit/lansing study ten years ago that showed &quot;interest&quot; from Lansing to Detroit). In other words, disregard the study that said this is not feasible, but put all their faith in the study that shows a grand assumption about this enormous influx of jobs/workers over 30 years. 1:09:09: charging Amtrak parkers will help p


Sun, May 8, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

I suggest you get outside the Midwest to see how rail transportation works in other parts of the country and the world.

say it plain

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

Wow...more incredible scandalously irrepsonsible behavior from our city government! But, see, this is not &quot;city money&quot; isn't that beautiful for their talking points?! It can come off like this is the &quot;only&quot; way to eventually &quot;help&quot; make our city able to support this 'growth' they project in order to justify it (hmm...a little catch-22-ish, but that's so, so, expected, right?, from government...that's what the pretend-political opposition will say anyway lol). It's merely loans, and we know how loans are *never* a problem for any entity, right? Right? Oh, you say that's what got us to point of being in dire straits everywhere budget-wise in this state and country? That, plus a lack of vision and a chasing of short-term profit, some of which came in little rings of happy 'deal'-makers of various sorts? ah, yes, but still....don't bikers want to take showers? ! We envision a green utopia, and if we build it, they will come, right?! Yes,, you as journalists are supposed to be uncovering these sorts of things, looking into what other people can find merely from looking at transcripts of the meetings you are supposed to be reporting on for us!


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Leaving this afternoon and returning tomorrow, It costs $250 for a family of 4 to travel to Chicago via train, plus bus/taxi fare. So, we'll say $300 round trip. On this trip, one is not confined to a seat for the duration, which is beneficial to those with aches and pains or are chronologically deficient (under 10) and restless. Additionally, all family members can be engaged with each other without having to navigate or drive. Naps can be taken, adult beverages can be consumed, etc. Driving today, it would cost at least $160 for gas, plus overnight and daily parking (say $40), and wear and tear on the vehicle (say $15). The total cost of $215 for this trip does not factor in intangibles, such as traffic, other drivers, driver fatigue, aches/pains/restlessness, etc. Factoring all this in, I'd rather take the train. Plus, if it gets me there faster, then so much the better. The price difference and relaxation factor are worth it to me. Besides, if I can't afford a bit more for each person to really enjoy themselves on a trip like this, I really shouldn't try to pay for the low end trip.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

last time I took train to Chicago it cost $58 each way. Plus rental car or taxi's. Family of 4 would be $484 round trip. At 600 miles 20 MPG is 30 gallons or $120. So how manyfamilies can afford to spend an additional $300 + for the privilidge of riding high speed rail.

George Gaston

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

Currently, the parking at the Ann Arbor Amtrak station lot is free of charge. It is well used and is often full to overflowing. I have counted more than one hundred cars parked in this lot on weekends. They park not just in the marked spaces but everywhere they can find a patch of ground big enough to park a car on. If a Fuller Park Amtrak station is ever built, you can be sure that you will be paying city of Ann Arbor parking rates if you want to park your car there when you take the train to Chicago for the weekend.

Rita Mitchell

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

Improvements to train travel are a good idea, and I support them. Plans to build a 1,600 space parking structure on Ann Arbor park land are a slap to the voters and tax payers of Ann Arbor. We said that we require a vote before sale of park land. Guess what? There's no sale! What do we get from the plan? The opportunity to contribute $10M to construction, and ownership of a parking a park! We'll just &quot;participate&quot; with the planning and building on our park land. The parking structure is intended to support UM commuters who will arriving by car, as usual, and NOT taking the train to Ann Arbor. If you like this idea, then be prepared for future ideas to make your favorite park into a high rise for autos.

George Gaston

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

If you think that the city of Ann Arbor has more parks than we need and if we are willing to turn over our public parks for development by third parties, then it should be possible to build affordable housing on many of our smaller urban parks. The housing units built will be free of the cost of buying land and, as the property will still belong to the city, free of city property taxes.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 4 p.m.

How many parks do we need? We buy more unused green belt land every year so the bleeding heart liberals make sure land prices are so high that the undesireables don't live anywhere near Ann Arbor. I guess we need rail and buses to get our housekeepers and lawn maintenance people to work at our houses.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

This is bribery, pure and simple. The Dems are promising to bring large dollars into the state in exchange for votes. Too bad the money is being wasted on such a stupid project. p.s. This is not a slam of the Dems - the Reps are no better.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Fix the existing system so that the regular-speed rail works between Ann Arbor and Chicago. No need for high-speed, just good solid regular speed will work just fine.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 12:11 p.m.

Amtrak is NOT where our tax dollars should go. Except for the Northeast corridor, it makes no financial sense. My son went to/from Chicago recently, and the return trip was 57 min late to Ann Arbor. As stated prior, we lack the population density, and few want to go to Detroit, especially where the station is located. And stop building U of M parking structures with our tax dollars.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

We do NOT lack population density in the mid-west or NE corridor for high speed rail. The densities are comparable to European high-speed rail lines. Density is a fallacy.

Phillip Farber

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:32 p.m.

Like you've never been 57 minutes late stuck behind a crash on I-94.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.

Now cut the public subsidized highway system and turn I94 into a toll road - Five cents an axle per mile sounds about right. I'm tired of supporting morons in SUVs - they act like they own road anyway so make them pay for it.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

Hey! There's an idea for Gov. Snyder! Sell I-94, I-96, and I-75 to the highest bidders and let the private companies run them through tolls. They can charge whatever the market will bear. Maybe they can find some former Enron execs. to run things, with financing from Goldman Sachs. I'm *sure* a private company wouldn't make it *too* expensive.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

Mike, gas taxes DO NOT pay for all of the road maintenance and construction. The federal gas tax hasn't been raised since 1993. Do you think the cost of maintenance has stayed the same. Umm. That would be no. The feds put billions into the road kitty to keep it afloat.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

They pay for it every time they buy a gallon of gas. So it should make you happy they get such bad gas mileage, that means they have to pay more. Plus they pay for your train ride every day through tax subsidies. Talk about morons...........


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 1:44 p.m.

Ya, that's what we need. Another daily cost. Do you think if that happened, the fed govt. would lower your taxes....Ya right. Sounds like your a little insecure about your size..........of vehicle.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 11:42 a.m.

The government and supporters of these projects never seem to release the economic data to support their belief their projects will work out financially. Probably because they know the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill, after all it is for &quot;The greater good&quot;. The high sped rail between Madison, W. and Milwalkee in order to pay for itself would have required a ticket price of $356 each way for 10 years. I suppoes DRIC is next. So AA News where is your investigation into the finances of this project and whose political ally will get the contract? How much money will the school aid budget be cut to pay for this? Both the state and US government are BROKE and yet we still thank Levin &amp; Stabenhow for pilling on more debt. When will we learn?


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 10:15 a.m.

Should read, &quot;Michigan officials are seeking federal borrowing of $200 million from China for four projects.&quot; We should be sure this is cost effective for our grandchildren becasue they will be paying off that loan. The studies I have seen do not show high speed rail to be self-sufficient unless very heavily used. I wonder about the currant and continued need for commuters along this route.

say it plain

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 9:14 p.m.

Good point, really...we need to focus on heavily heavily used lines to spend money we don't have and that don't fix our infrastructure right. Spend that money on fixing the streets in AA for goshsake it is *tiresome* to drive on these potholed streets and makes me go out to spend time and money downtown right here less often for the frustration of it! We could have had a works project to put back to work all those folks who were thrown out when the housing/credit-bubble burst, and fixed all the bridges secondary roads and school-buildings that are falling apart all over this nation, but instead we bailed out the banks, hoping they'd 'lend money' to folks and fix what they broke or rigged to explode in the first place. All we got instead was record corporate profits, union-busting new 'leadership' and now we'll get highspeed rail to bring people out to spend more money they don't really have on consumer goods that has driven this economy for far too long and which truly benefits only the wealthiest of us, while completely endebting our future to China and whomever is holding our 'paper' obligations. scary!

Joe Hood

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 4:49 a.m.

Not very impressed with Amtrak's IT infrastructure. Try to figure out how the trains are running at BWI, when flying there.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 4:44 a.m.

This is fantastic news. Imagine a dependable 3 hour trip into downtown Chicago with no airport hassle and it is so much more fuel efficient. These improvements are also what is needed to make the commuter rail work so long as they get the Fuller Station up and running. Twenty minutes to the airport, 10 minutes for commuters coming into work from Ypsilanti. This will provide a long term economic boost to SE Michigan. Easy to understand why it is backed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. Even the Governor is on board!


Sun, May 8, 2011 : 12:45 a.m.

The trip will NEVER be 3 hours, even if &quot;high speed&quot; (which this fix-up won't be)... 1) there are too many stops, unless it only stops in A2, and 2) the slowest part of the trip, last I remember, was the part AFTER you cross the state line into Indiana/Illinois where the rails are more congested and there are more delays waiting for other trains, or whatever.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

Maybe they're going to announce the end of the subsidies for the money losing trains. Then your ticket price will rise to $400. We'll see if you still like the trains then.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.

I believe the trip will still take 4+ hrs

George Gaston

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 4:24 a.m.

Train travel is a wonderful thing. I have traveled far by train over the years. I am a supporter of our rail system. This said, I would like to say that this proposed Fuller Park Transit Center is nothing more than a gift of city of Ann Arbor park land to the UofM Hospital for a parking structure. This city park property has been used as a University Hospital parking lot, on a temporary basis, renewed several times, since the realignment of Fuller Road in 1993. The University had a plan to build a parking structure/bus transit center on the University's own bought and razed Lower Ann Arbor property between Wall Street and Maiden Lane. Some party objected to the University building a parking structure on it's own property, property that the University will some day develope, without any approval by the City required, and offered up Fuller Park as an alternative site for development. A surface lot can be easily restored to open park land; a parking structure will forever remove this city park from our park system. Our City cannot sell this park to the University without a public vote, therefore, we are being presented with this canard of a &quot;transportation center&quot; to make the University this gift of one of our city parks, without a vote of the citizen owners of Ann Arbor parks required.

George Gaston

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

If you believe that a temporary surface lot in a city park means that the University has the right to take over and develop the entier park, then you must be willing to give the University the city park between the river and the Kellogg Eye Center on Canal Street, Riverside Park, where there is another university controlled surface lot.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

You really believe that a surface lot would ever be restored to park land?


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

(To the tune of the old &quot;Mickey Mouse Club&quot; theme) B-o-o-... n-d-o... g-g-l-e-s!! Mickey Mouse!... Mickey Mouse!... Forever let us hold our banner high!! I bet they get enough money to fix-up the tracks, and add a couple of trains to improve the service, but there are no billions for this high-speed-rail-to-nowhere wet dream, given the budget/deficit considerations looming on the not-so-distant horizon. Not to mention all the other compelling reasons not to spend a fortune so a few hundred people a day can ride the choo-choo.


Sun, May 8, 2011 : 12:23 a.m.

Let's see, now... Michigan lost population in the 2010 census, and would have lost even more if everyone who wanted to sell their house and leave had been able to do so. Detroit lost more population than even I thought it would, and is barely 720,000 desperate souls, many of whom simply have no where else to go. Commuter rails and/or high speed rail schemes depend on lines which are densely populated, and projected to become more so as time goes on, neither of which is true of the Detroit-Chicago corridor. Even prissy old A2 is barely treading water, and will likely putter along around in the low 100s, as it has for the past several decades. Like I said, a lot a money to spend, so a few hundred can ride the train each day.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 10:23 a.m.

I'm afraid the Detroit is rapidly becoming &quot;nowhere.&quot; Detroit only became large because of the auto industry. And that is leaving rapidly. Much of what still functions in the industry is in Sterling Heights or Livonia, for example. i very much would like to see a project like this combine with Mayor Bing's plan to shrink and re-vitalize Detroit. But let's understand that this is a subsidized project funded with money our children will have to pay back to our debtors. We need to be very sure it is a good investment. And all I hear is wild-eyed comments about European rail and how 'nice' it would be.

Jake C

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

Does a &quot;rail to nowhere&quot; usually connect two of the largest cities in the United States?


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:06 a.m.

less than a month ago you ran a story and told us how Synder was non committal on high-speed rail. but of course he won't miss an opportunity for a photo-op claiming he had something to do with getting the state $$$. typical


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

What choice does he have? The Obama administration punishes those who don't play ball. He'll smile for the cameras but I'll bet he's not happy.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:01 a.m.

If high speed rail was economically viable private companies would have invested in it.


Sun, May 8, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

Put it to a vote and see where it goes!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, May 8, 2011 : 12:02 a.m.

&quot;What are you going to do with the people that live north of Lansing or in the UP. I know take their money and give them nothing in return!&quot; Gee, like there's an interstate highway within 100 miles of Marquette, Escanaba, Houghton, Iron Mountain, or Ironwood? Newsflash: people in those communities pay for interstate highways they don't use. As for the $7 Trillion: that money kept oil prices artificially low. It subsidized the use of cars and trucks. Like it. Don't like it. Don't understand it. Doesn't matter. it is a fact. Had that money not been spent the global price of oil would have been much higher, and we (and the rest of the world, for that matter) were not paying the true cost of the gas we were using (and we continue not to, as well). And with this, I leave the field to you. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

Oh I get it the argument that started as I-94 vs rail between Detroit and Chicago now has 7 trillion dollars of cost on the back of I-94. And where did the funds come from for the rest of the countries roads? You are good at throwing out numbers that do not have much to do with the argument at hand. But then I don't expect much more from someone that thinks the teapublicans are responsible for everything from the revolutionary war to the myth about man walking on the moon! What you don't seem to get is mass rail travel is fine for the east coast or even the west coast where the population is in a relatively confined area. So we get rid of cars and put a rail to every nook and cranny in the country? What are you going to do with the people that live north of Lansing or in the UP. I know take their money and give them nothing in return!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 10:34 p.m.

Whatever number you find to calculate the cost per vehicle-mile of using I-94, you need to factor in the $7 Trillion that the US as spent since 1980 keeping oil flowing through the Persian Gulf, thereby keeping global oil prices low. Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> You also need to calculate the costs of millions of tons of air pollution created by those cars and the resultant health problems. The point to this exercise, which you seem not to be getting, is that the government has privileged certain modes of transportation and to have done all it can to discourage thers. Cars, trucks, and planes = good. Anything on rails = bad. Trucks do most of the damage on our highways yet do not pay close to the use tax they ought given their weight when compared to what passenger vehicles pay. Their operations therefore are heavily subsidized by the government. Freight railroads? Not a penny. Railroads are the future of mass transit, esp. for short and medium distance travel as oil prices continue to rise. The time is now to invest in it so that it is there to be used when it is needed. And it will be needed. Good Night and Good Luck.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

ERMG Can you find me data on the return for putting a new roof on your house, or how much return do you get on the car you drive. How much return do we get for all the foreign aid we dish out? Where do I buy that stock? There are things we all invest in that is hard to quantify how much return we get. Look at it this way there has been a fortune spent on I-94 I will not argue that. But break down the cost this way. Take the number of people that have ever traveled on I-94 and break it down to dollars spent per person per mile that has used it. Now try to do the same for passengers that will ever used the Detroit to Chicago train and the dollar per user per mile I suspect would be higher. The return if you will is the usage. And in my humble opinion the usage for high speed rail in this state will always be low relative to the cost. johnnya2 I don't know what you are talking about. Are you saying they have never expanded I-94? Now they have not gone far enough and it does not hold up long enough but the fact is high speed rail will NEVER get the usage needed to justify the expenditure at this time. I have nothing against high speed rail but now is not the time. You are living on the wrong planet if you think any rail system in this state will get enough riders to make it anything more than a convenience for a select few!


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

jgc, So you think the investment in 94 was a one time thing? They have never expanded it. Put more money into it. I 94 does not, I repeat DOES NOT pay for itself. In fact, lets take the entire high speed rail budget and double it, and completely end the road subsidies. The amount of &quot;limited resource&quot; dollars saved would be huge.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

In other words, there is no data a &quot;return in investment&quot; on I 94? Thanks. Next Question: Can you tell me where I can buy stock in those corporations who own or nation's largest airports. Seems like a good place to invest. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

ERMG BTW You bit! I did not expect a straight forward answer!


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Correct me if I am wrong but even in the mid 50's when I-94 was started, the economy was is better shape. If you look at the amount of usage I-94 has gotten in the last 50+ years compared to the most realistic projections of train usage. Then yes the return for I-94 is like a windfall. The fact that I and millions of others drive on I -94 every month is testament to it's return!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

jcj: I'm looking for data for the return on investment on I-94 and can't find it. Can you please point me in that direction? Thanks!! Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

ERMG Would be interested in knowing if you think there will be much return on this investment. Or just another drain on limited available resources?


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 10:26 a.m.

Exactly ERMG! I have no problem withinfrastructure investment if it looks to be efficacious. I am worried about the studies on high speed rail. Studies have shown that It requires a certain population/commuter density which we just do not have. @Cynic Perfectly good highways are useless without the fuel to run on them.....


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 4:20 a.m.

We already HAVE perfectly good highways! All we have to do is MAINTAIN them. If properly maintained, your trip to Kalamazoo, or Chicago, or wherever, will be safe and pleasant, and will not create another expensive infrastructure requiring yet more scarce tax dollars to create and maintain.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

Yes, just like they invested substantial funds in the Interstate Highway System. Can you tell me where I can go to buy stock in I-94? Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:58 a.m.

Given the problems China is having with their expensive high speed rail system, built for political reasons more than engineering ones, why would we expect better results in America where were have a far lower population density to support it? Google &quot;china high speed rail problems&quot; for numerous articles on the subject. Trains are great for hauling freight, which requires a lot of brute force but not a lot of speed. For passengers in need of speed you just can't beat planes, though security theater is destroying much of that advantage. No rails to maintain there. I'd say to build parallel tracks dedicated to passenger rail that can let standard trains run at full speed but you might as well just take Greyhound or Megabus. About the same speed as a standard train, far more flexible than rails, and they don't require the Federal Reserve to print up another several $billion in funny money. They have WiFi on buses now too. Trains are fun but I don't think that the math works for passenger use. Amtrak's management track record fails to inspire confidence too. There's a reason private industry dumped passenger rail on the government.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 11:22 p.m.

Oh I get it the argument that started as I-94 vs rail between Detroit and Chicago now has 7 trillion dollars of cost on the back of I-94. And where did the funds come from for the rest of the countries roads? You are good at throwing out numbers that do not have much to do with the argument at hand. But then I don't expect much more from someone that thinks the teapublicans are What you don't seem to get is mass rail travel is fine for the east coast or even the west coast where the population is in a relatively confined area.. But what are you going to do with the people that live north of Lansing or in the UP.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

Germany's land area is 137,847 square miles. Michigan's is 56,804 (including the vast and lightly populated UP, which is about a quarter of the state's total area).


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 10:28 a.m.

Europe's rail system is a good example. It does work because of population density AND short travel distances. Germany's rail system is exceptional. But Germany is smaller than Michigan with five times the population.

Linda Peck

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:48 a.m.

This is my preferred way of travel, hands-free, no airplane, and if I am lucky it will be operating in my lifetime.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

I enjoy taking the train, and with the TSA looking in your underwear nowadays, I think ridership is going to increase. Hooray, the US is joining the 21st century! High speed rail for all!

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

johnnya2, Its true that gas taxes no longer fully cover the cost of roads. But they cover a much much larger portion than a ticket does for a train. Further more roads whether you own a car or not are essential to everyone. There is virtually nothing anyone buys that didn't at some point get from point a to points b on a road.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

Mike, The rest of the country subsidizes your riding in your car. I guess you want toll roads to self fund every road. Not a valid or convincing argument. But it is typical of right wing nuts to say something often enough, they actually believe the lie.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

With plans to targeting U.S. trains on Osama Bin Ladens computers we just confiscated don't be surprised if the TSA expands its underwear search.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Oh boy, good for you. The rest of us will pay higher taxes to subsidize your travel. If you had to pay the real cost without subsidies you wouldn't be so happy.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 2:02 a.m.

sounds it like it would be good for Detroit!


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 1:09 a.m.

Maybe some of that money will help to start putting all those trailers that haul freight along 94 on a train. Talk about saving gas!


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

Think of all the jobs that will be lost along with the additional taxes required to subsidize this! Wow, this is fantastic! Plus Nancy Pelosi says that unemployment compensation is good for the economy so we should get a boost from that too! I can hardly wait to watch the mostly empty trains roll by while we do nothing to cut government spending. At least with high speed we won't have to wait at the crossings so long.

Craig Lounsbury

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 1 a.m.

This is certainly good news for Chicago if it comes to pass. It will make it easier for folks in Michigan to get to the Windy City to spend some discretionary income. Whether its ultimately good for us depends on which direction most of the money flows. My gut says more money flows west than east.


Sun, May 8, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

I think that those who feel that this project may be financially beneficial for Chicago, but perhaps not Michigan, are suffering from provincialism which does not serve the state well, nor the Great Lakes region. I live in New Jersey, and on the East Coast trains are as much a part of life as the automobile. God knows how many trains run daily between New Jersey and New York City. You'd be hard pressed to find a person in this region who does not see the benefit of effective mass transit to and from the city. Most New Jersey communities (and those in other nearby states) leverage the many NYC attributes to promote the attractiveness of their own communities. Michiganians would do well to recognize they're part of a larger region, and the more successful Chicago, Detroit, and other large cities in the Great Lake region, the more vibrant and attractive Michigan will be to businesses, visitors and prospective residents.

say it plain

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

I agree with @Craig...I think most of the money will flow west lol. Both to Chicago (I would *love* to be able to get there more often! I would love to have easier access to the truly decent restaurants there, as opposed to the almost-universally over-priced and under-inspired ones we seem to think are so great here in AA lol.) and to West Michigan that would be on the way! These communities would also benefit. And @KJMClark, check out the board of exchange in Chicago for at least partial answers to the question of why all our money is going to oil lately, so it seems. At least some important part of the rise in oil prices has been due to speculation (see for instance: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> ) But, sure, we need to get less dependent on oil, and we need to use more trains, I agree.


Sat, May 7, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Considering how much of our money is currently flowing south and east (to comrade Chavez and various outfits in MENA), having some of that money flowing west wouldn't be such a bad thing. There's a good bit of Michigan to the west of AA. And even if it goes to Chicago, I'd rather have the money going there than to various oil despots.

Moscow On The Huron

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 12:18 a.m.

Wondering if this means the government is purchasing the Norfolk-Southern line.