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Michigan waits on high-speed rail announcement

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network



Michigan officials are waiting to see if President Obama includes a Midwest high speed rail project in its efforts to create a network of super-speed train lines criss-crossing the nation.

Governor Granholm signed a cooperation agreement with seven other states this past summer to seek part of the $8 billion in federal stimulus money set aside for high-speed rail. The president's hometown of Chicago would serve as the hub of the Midwest system.

Michigan's portion would run from Detroit and Pontiac to the Indiana border, and would reach speeds of 110 miles per hour. New federal guidelines for awarding grants could work to Michigan's benefit because some money will be targeted toward areas where the quality of life would be improved by job creation and cleaner air.

The Granholm administration estimates suggest Michigan would eventually gain nearly seven thousand new, permanent jobs, as well as hundreds more temporary construction jobs. It would also complement proposed commuter light rail systems.

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