HB 6484 Rail Bonding bill update. This bill failed to clear the state Senate last night/early this morning. There appeared to be no real opposition to the bill – it just did not have the active support that it had in the state House.
The good news is that there was a tremendous show of support from all across the state with over 500 calls to state Senators and hundreds of letters and emails urging passage of this bill. The Senators and their staff were familiar with this bill and understood the issues because of these contacts. Also, some key supporters in the state House will transition to the state Senate in January. We have primed the pump for victory on this issue in the next legislative session.
Will this doom Michigan’s chances for $161 million in federal HSR grants? Likely not, yet. MDOT estimates that if Michigan can come up with the match money – about $37 million – by the spring we won’t loose out on capturing this money.
Michigan did, however, miss an opportunity to demonstrate to the USDOT that we are serious about passenger rail, ready to invest some of our own money in our own system and ready to put to good use the $1.4 Billion in HSR grants that WI and OH are rejecting.
It is rather frustrating for those of us who spent countless days working this bill. However, we will work this issue again starting in January and fully expect a successful outcome. Thank you to everyone who spoke with their legislators – it really did make a big difference.