During the early part of this century, Michigan acquired a number of railroads and then decided to get out of the railroad business by privatizing all of the assets. However, during the 1980s Michigan once again got into the railroad business and now owns 733.62 miles of right-of-way, with some 706.64 miles of operational track.46 The Transportation Commission recently renewed leases on much of this track.
There is no valid reason for the state to continue to be involved in railroad track ownership. As a general rule MDOT supports getting out of this business, but more needs to be done to implement that position. This track should be sold to the highest bidder in an open process that assures the state the best possible price. Sales revenue will not be substantial, but the state would save several million dollars a year in maintenance costs.