ADRIAN-In a move the Mackinac Center called for back in April 1995, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has sold the state's oldest piece of railroad, the Lenawee County Railroad System, to a private company, the Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road Company, for $1.7 million.

Originally built in 1836 by the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad, the Lenawee was the first railroad west of the Allegheny mountains.

MDOT has owned the 19.5-mile system since the 1980s and since then has contracted with several private railroad companies to provide rail service to shippers. But ownership of the railroad stayed with MDOT until recently, when officials decided to offer the property for sale to "the bidder that exhibited the greatest potential to provide efficient and reliable rail service," according to MDOT Director James DeSana.