MDOT to expand passenger rail service between Detroit-Windsor, 2 other corridors with new federal grants

The rail corridor connecting Detroit and Pontiac to Chicago is among three projects selected for federal grant money to both improve existing rail service and develop new transit options.

Part of the expected improvement to the Detroit/Pontiac to Chicago corridor includes adding an extension to Windsor, Ontario.

The other two rail corridors slated for funding include one from Port Huron to Chicago, and Grand Rapids to Chicago.

In a news release obtained by FOX 2, U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabbenow announced the Michigan Department of Transportation was receiving three $500,000 grants through the Federal Railroad Administration.

The funding will enable MDOT to expand transportation options in the state as part of its Mobility 2045 Plan - a framework established to guide future transit decisions over the next 25 years.

In a statement, Sen. Peters said he pushed for the projects to receive federal dollars to "make rail transportation a more available and reliable option for travelers while spurring economic development."

The three corridors refer to Amtrak's train routes that travel through Michigan.

Pere Marquette is Amtrak's rail connection between Chicago and Grand Rapids. Blue Water connects Chicago to Port Huron and Wolverine connects Chicago to metro Detroit.

Amtrak's service to Chicago is occasionally disrupted by derailments and other issues. Most recently, the Wolverine Service was interrupted after a train collided with a vehicle near New Buffalo before Thanksgiving Break.

They aren't the only corridors that could benefit from federal dollars. A separate corridor proposed by Amtrak that would link large population centers in Ohio and Michigan includes building a stop at Detroit Metro Airport.

There is currently no way of getting to DTW from Detroit, except by car or bus.

The Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit corridor "would improve mobility for underserved communities and provide reliable and efficient transportation to education and employment opportunities along the route."


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The quarter-stretch of roadway will be open near Michigan Central Station, where Detroit's mobility district is gathering steam.

Detroit hasn't had a rail connection to Toledo since 2004, according to the Amtrak Connect US page

The proposal said Detroit and Cleveland were on the path to becoming "Midwest passenger rail hubs."

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio announced earlier this week the northern-Ohio corridor was among four picked to receive funding. The proposal was filed with the Ohio Rail Development Commission, Crain's Detroit Business reported earlier this week.

Corridor Identification and Development

Housed under the Federal Railroad Administration is the Corridor Identification and Development Program.

Corridor ID was created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as a means for boosting development of passenger rail between cities. 

The FRA announced it was seeking proposals for $500,000 grants in late 2022.