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The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is seeking to temporarily forgo payments on 23 unused commuter-rail cars it leased from the Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLC).Under an agreement still in progress, GLC would eliminate MDOT's lease payments on the cars for up to five years. The railroad would then assure the cars' availability for future commuter-rail service in southeast Michigan, according to an MDOT press release.To generate revenue from the cars in the interim, GLC would be able to sublease the cars to other commuter-rail agencies in the U.S. and Canada, MDOT officials said. The agency expects to terminate lease payments to GLC after Sept. 30."This agreement removes MDOT's lease expense and protects the state's investment in the commuter rail cars," State Transportation Director Kirk Steudle said.The cars were initially rehabilitated for two separate commuter-rail projects: one from Dearborn, Mich., to Detroit, and another from Howell to Ann Arbor, Mich., also known as the Washtenaw Livingston Rail Line.MDOT would resume payments on the vehicles once the state begins commuter-rail service, which is expected to occur in 2019.
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