Posts Tagged ‘intermodal’

FRA obligates $28.2 million for new Dearborn train station

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has obligated $28.2 million in High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail funds to the Michigan Department of Transportation for the construction of a new train station in Dearborn, Mich., the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) announced Friday.


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$28m grant for new Dearborn station, Michigan

The Michigan Department of Transportation has received $28.2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to consolidate Dearborn’s two passenger rail facilities into a pedestrian-friendly, intermodal station in the West Downtown section of the city.

The new station will serve local residents and students at University of Michigan–Dearborn and Henry Ford Community College.


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Project Milwaukee: Regional Transportation Key to Future Success


We now continue our series, Project Milwaukee – Southern Connections. All week, we’re exploring the corridor extending from Milwaukee to Chicago. Economic development experts say regions will fare best in the new global economy. A key ingredient to a successful region is efficient transportation, and more people than ever before are traveling in the corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis explores the options that exist today and what the future seems to demand.

It’s just past 5:30 on a Thursday afternoon, and Robin Toewe has just zipped into the Intermodal Station in downtown Milwaukee. Her train home – to Chicago- leaves in a few minutes.

“I was at a meeting with a client at the Public Market and I looked at my watch and I was like, sorry guys I gotta go,” Robin says.

Robin relies on Amtrak’s Hiawatha line to travel between Chicago and Milwaukee. She makes the 90-minute trip once a week.

“About three months ago, I was pulled into my boss’ office and he said, ‘So how would you feel about going to Milwaukee once a week?’ And I jumped on it,” Robin says.

She says it’s easy to spot the business travelers.

“People that immediately sit down, pull out their iPad or their laptop. And you overhear the phone conversations of ‘You know I’ll be to the office in such a such a time,’” Robin says.

Robin finds the train a convenient way to travel back and forth because it rarely runs late and allows time to work or sleep.


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Rail plan seeks broad support

TH Online

Passenger rail is the future of transportation and the time is now to secure a position for Dubuque, according to Chandra Ravada, of East Central Intergovernmental Association.

“If we miss this chance, it might not come back again,” Ravada told the Dubuque City Council during an update on progress toward passenger rail connecting Chicago and Dubuque. “All the state needs is assurance we are behind this project.”


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Milwaukee Common Council Affirms Support For High-Speed Rail

Common Council “On Board” in Rail Support Letter to USDOT Sec’y Ray LaHood

A majority of members of the Milwaukee Common Council have signed a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, expressing their continued support for building a Midwest high-speed rail network that initially would include an extension of the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha service to Madison.

In the letter, the members state they “continue to believe that this network will improve mobility and provide more travel choices for our constituents and will serve to create wealth and promote economic development in Milwaukee.”

The letter continues: “Moreover, as you know, this federal investment requires no state or local matching funds. This is a benefit to Wisconsin that is not even afforded under federal highway investments, which require state matches of 20 percent or more.

In other words, this investment will not require any expenditure from Wisconsin’s Highway Trust Fund, thereby enabling those resources to remain fully available for Wisconsin highway and bridge work.

(The) Common Council is on record in support of these rail infrastructure investments. For example, we invested $6.2 million in city funds to renovate and expand the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, and we have invested $6 million in city funds to acquire and renovate an industrial building in Milwaukee for the rail car manufacturer, Talgo, Inc. We overwhelmingly defeated a resolution that would have put the city on record as opposing the renovation of the platform areas of the intermodal station.”

Signers to the letter were: Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr.; Alderman Robert J. Bauman; Alderman Ashanti Hamilton; Alderman Joe Davis, Sr.; Alderman Nik Kovac; Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs; Alderman Willie C. Wade; Alderman Michael J. Murphy; Alderman Terry L. Witkowski; and Alderman Tony Zielinski.

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Governor Quinn Announces $32 Million for Joliet Multi-Modal Transportation Center

New Station Will Improve Rail Reliability, Increase Safety, Create 650 Jobs

JOLIET – October 28, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced $32 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program to construct a multi-modal transportation station in downtown Joliet. The new transportation center is expected to create 650 jobs, laying the groundwork for future transit-oriented development in downtown Joliet.

 “This project will revitalize downtown Joliet and improve safety for the 800,000 passengers who use the city’s Union Station every year,” said Governor Quinn. “Investment in passenger rail supports our state’s continued economic recovery by creating jobs and stimulating development throughout the region.”

The new station will separate passenger and freight rail traffic, eliminating the ongoing problem of passengers crossing working freight tracks. All passenger platform and waiting areas will be moved east of the existing three-way intersection of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific and Rock Island District Line tracks. The project also includes pedestrian tunnels that connect to Pace bus service, inter-city bus service and other forms of ground transportation, and a new 500-space parking lot.

“This new transportation center will improve Metra and Amtrak service reliability, provide better connections between residents and jobs, and ease freight congestion in one of northeastern Illinois’ most crowded areas,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig, who joined Governor Quinn for today’s announcement.

The $42 million project also includes $7.5 million in funding from the City of Joliet and $2.2 million from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The Regional Transit Authority, Pace, Metra, Amtrak, Will County and Union Pacific all served as key partners in the development of this project.

Today’s announcement is a part of the overall plan to develop high speed rail service between Chicago and St. Louis. Last month, Governor Quinn announced that Illinois was the first state to begin high-speed rail construction. Earlier this week Governor Quinn announced $230 million in federal funds to build passenger rail service between Iowa City, Moline and Chicago. 

In addition to the new intermodal center, Governor Quinn recently announced the reconstruction of Interstate 55 at Arsenal Road, which will support nearly 900 jobs and help attract businesses to the Joliet area. Earlier this year, Governor Quinn signed the Intermodal Facilities Promotion Act to encourage business development along the freight rail systems of Illinois. CenterPoint Properties projects 7,000 permanent new jobs being brought to Illinois through an intermodal facility in Joliet.

Groups pushing for better rail service in metro area

Press & Guide

DEARBORN — Mayor Jack O’Reilly and other city officials took part in a public forum on Michigan’s passenger rail transportation future Wednesday on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus.

“I’ve been in and out of issues with transit since 1980 when I was working with the Senate Transportation Committee,” O’Reilly said. “We’ve had a lot of false starts, but no real progress in any kinds of mass transit and there’s got to be a starting point. If we can get the momentum going, we can begin to explore this.”

Recent federal support has put Michigan in a great position to build a modern rail transit system that is clean, fast and convenient, according to John Langdon of the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers.

“We want residents to shape that vision and discuss how best to meet big challenges like funding for such a rail network,” Langdon said.

Wednesday’s forum was part of a series of 16 taking place throughout the state to engage citizens on a vision for the future and forward the ideas to state and federal policymakers.

“The Michigan Department of Transportation is required to perform a state rail plan and submit it to the federal railroad administration in order to receive federal money in the future for the rail system,” said Tim Fischer, deputy policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. “ They’re in the process of taking input from Michigan citizens.”

Each forum includes an overview of the existing rail system, an interactive rail mapping session, discussion of financing options and a big picture vision for a modern Michigan high-speed rail system.

“This is really a way to begin the discussion of what we want to see in Michigan’s passenger and to some extent the freight rail system,” Fischer said.

According to Landon, similar forums have drawn hundreds of residents and civic leaders in venues including Royal Oak, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Traverse City, New Buffalo, St. Joseph and Jackson.

Others are planned for cities including Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Flint, Monroe, and Ann Arbor.

“This is really something we’re way behind in, and if we miss this opportunity it may have a terrible impact because the reality is the demand for petroleum based products worldwide is going to continue to expand,” O’Reilly said. “It’s a limited resource. If we don’t really explore alternatives to that, then there may be a time when we’re going to find we’re going to lose the opportunity to move forward economically.”

Officials have said rail transit would help reduce congestion in Southeast Michigan, improve road quality and the daily commute for constituents, and assist communities with economic development, employer recruitment and livability.

But just how Michigan will be able to afford expanded rail service is still a mystery. Paul Tait, executive director of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, said in June the state would likely have to raise taxes.

A modest increase in the gas and vehicle registration tax, SEMCOG argues, could raise more than $1 billion annually for road and transit projects in Michigan, and $100 million of that could go to projects like the Ann Arbor-to-Detroit rail line.

The line includes a stop in Dearborn — where plans to build a new intermodal rail station continue to move forward. The new station will be about 20,000 square feet and located at Michigan Avenue and Elm (east of Brady, west of the Southfield Freeway), placing it within walking distance of Greenfield Village and the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus.

“This site was selected for the new station because it’s the nexus point for being able to get off the train, cross a bridge and end up on the Henry Ford campus or walk to our West Downtown district,” said Barry Murray, director of Dearborn Economic and Community Development Department.

“We’re also looking at building a bridge across Michigan Avenue as part of this project, which would give us a direct link to about 27,000 students on our two campuses. People don’t usually think of Dearborn as a college town, but when you put it in that context we have as many if not more students than traditional college towns in the area. A lot of our students are commuters, but UM-D is looking at adding student housing as part of their growth plan.”

Mayor O’Reilly said he believes investing in state-of-the-art passenger rail is essential to the future of Dearborn, Metro Detroit and Michigan.

“The thing I think should be most compelling to us is the one community that lagged behind Detroit for years was the Los Angeles area,” he said. “I was out there this summer and I rode their rail. They are ahead of us now in terms of transit development, which is quite shocking if you think of the history of Los Angeles.

“What’s really extraordinary is they’re driving It downtown. Los Angeles didn’t really have a downtown before, but now they have a more vital downtown in this economy than they’ve ever had in their past. They’re driving energy and investment into their downtown with transit.”

Murray said he thinks Dearborn could do the same with its intermodal rail station.

“What we see spinning off from this is transit oriented development (the idea that people want to be around transit stations and actually want to base their life in that area) so you see an increased demand for housing, commercial development and institutional development,” he said.

The proposed intermodal station is being paid for through a $40 million grant from the $8 billion in high-speed rail money that was made available through the Obama administration.

“We hope to receive our grant by the end of the year and we have 24 months from the day the federal railroad administration gives that grant to MDOT to finish the project,” Murray said.

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