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TIGER Grant App Update



June 22, 2012 — The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded nearly $500 million from the TIGER 2012 program to 47 transportation projects in 34 states and the District of Columbia.  

The City of New Buffalo's Western Michigan Intercity Passenger Rail Connectivity and Expansion Initiative grant application was not successful.  The City's $70.8 million project had two purposes:

  1. Design of a connection track between the Amtrak-owned corridor and CSX at New Buffalo, Michigan.
  2. Extension of the Dowagiac, Michigan siding (double tracks) to the Niles, Michigan siding, a distance of approximately ten miles.

The City's grant application was among the top 70 of over 700 applications.  The City intends to reapply if the TIGER grant program continues.

Even though the City's grant application was unsuccessful, the City's goal for better passenger rail service between Chicago and New Buffalo will be aided by a $10.4 million grant for the $17.7 million Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program, a public-private partnership to improve freight flows through the Chicago region.  The partnership includes the Illinois DOT, Chicago DOT, Metra, Amtrak, and the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

This grant funding completes the planned improvements along the Western Avenue rail corridor, including replacing 16 hand-thrown switches with automatic switches; constructing connection tracks between CSX, Norfolk Southern, and BNSF tracks; and installing a computerized Traffic Control System to improve speeds and reduce delays throughout the corridor.  

The City of New Buffalo offers our sincerest thanks for the great efforts of Charlie Monte Verde and everyone at Amtrak for their technical assistance, as well as Tim Hoeffner and everyone at the Michigan Department of Transportation, Congressman Fred Upton and District Representative Clay McCausland, and, of course, the Michigan Legislature, for the matching funds, especially State Senator John Proos and State Representative Sharon Tyler.

The City also thanks our supporters, including Grand Valley Metropolitan CouncilMacatawa Area Coordinating CouncilSouthwest Michigan Planning CommissionNew Buffalo TownshipCity of Niles, and City of Dowagiac.