A feasibility study has recently been completed looking at adding passenger rail service from Toledo to Detroit, and the results are positive. Amtrak used to provide service between the two cities, but budget cuts forced them to close the line back in 1995. City leaders are convinced that the line would have enough passengers to make it work.
Driving between the two cities takes around an hour with favorable traffic. Providing a consistent, reliable, and faster option would benefit the entire region. Construction on train switches and adding the service would create an initial burst of new employment, but City Councilman Chris Delaney sees something bigger.
“The idea was economic development, job development in the region… not just Toledo, not just Romulus, not just Detroit”, Delaney said to WTVG Toledo ABC News 13. High speed rail has long been a goal for many communities in the Great Lakes region, and this would be a step towards that accomplishment. Currently, the only transit option between Toledo and Detroit is by taking the Greyhound or Megabus.
City leaders imagine a future where the Great Lakes region is further connected with quick and reliable rail transport between not only the major cities, but the smaller communities as well. Nearly one million residents of Ohio and Michigan ride the existing Amtrak lines annually and the opportunity to increase this number is plain. Regional trains have long been part of the transportation mix in nearby areas such as the South Bend to Chicago corridor. Over 300,000 people ride the South Shore to and from Chicago every month.
Recent news reports of a potential Green New Deal out of Washington D.C. have regional leaders thinking about how to reduce the carbon emissions from transportation. Stitching together Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo by train would spur economic development all along the route and take millions of cars off the road. Citizens would easily be able to live in towns like Toledo and commute to larger cities for work and play.
The promising study will be submitted to request federal funding to support the project.