Detroit Free Press reports ‘Lawmaker to MDOT: Cut your losses’

May 13, 2015

The Michigan Department of Transportation should cut its losses and terminate a $1.1-million-a-year lease for 23 passenger railcars that could sit idle until 2019, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Transportation should cut its losses and terminate a $1.1-million-a-year lease for 23 passenger railcars that are sitting idle and are not expected to go into service until 2019, a member of a key House committee said Wednesday.

But other members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, including its chairman, said the lease with Great Lakes Central Railroad, which owns the cars, should continue while MDOT explores possible subleases as a way of offsetting the ongoing expense.

“We got caught on this,” Rep. Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw Township, said after the subcommittee heard a presentation about the double-decker passenger cars from MDOT officials.

“It didn’t work out and we need to extract ourselves,” Kelly said. “I think that you need to cut your losses.”

The Free Press on Feb. 1 broke the news of the idle railcars, which are intended for two proposed commuter services in southeast Michigan and so far have cost the state about $12 million in refurbishment, consulting and leasing costs since 2010.

Reporter Paul Egan of the Detroit Free Press has ongoing reporting, and you can read the full story by clicking here.

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