Here’s a good, simple question for you, “Would you pay $37 to receive $161?”
As the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV) points out, “That’s the question facing Michigan, multiplied by a million, with respect to high-speed and commuter rail funding.”
Unfortunately, Tea Partiers and high-speed rail disinformers have been framing high-speed rail projects as a problem lately. While they do cost money, they are projected to create much more in most circumstances. Michigan has the opportunity to get a high-speed rail project rolling in its state now, but its state senators need to act soon to do so. A Michigan bill, House Bill 6484, needs to be voted on by the end of the year.
The Michigan LCV and others are making this a priority topic, for obvious reasons. High-speed rail is important for creating jobs, cutting global warming emissions, and improving social and economic connectivity in the region.
“While automobiles remain important, especially next-generation vehicles like the Chevy Volt, our state also needs to invest in high-speed and commuter rail for the promise it holds,” Lisa Wozniak, Michigan LCV’s executive director says. “That includes a lower carbon footprint for our state and faster commutes that can spur tourism and job growth across Michigan.”
House Bill 6484 was passed by the state’s representatives on November 10 and would put $100 million of state construction bonds towards a passenger rail project between Detroit and Chicago. This $100 million would include the $37 million that is required to unleash $161 million more in federal high-speed rail funding.
“This is a clear benefit for Michigan’s cities and towns,” said Tim Fischer, deputy policy director with the Michigan Environmental Council. “It will spur economic activity, improve the environment, establish affordable connections between communities and smooth the commutes between home and work.”
If you are in Michigan, you can help move this bill along by contacting your senators and Senate Majority Leader Bishop.
“The Michigan LCV and Michigan Environmental Council are calling on residents to take action and make their voices heard…. To find your senator, see this link: senate.michigan.gov/SenatorInfo/find-your-senator.htm.”
For more info, check out Michigan By Rail.
Photo Credit: michaelnpatterson via flickr (CC license)