Having done a lot of research on Penn Central Conrail some 30+ years ago makes that very clear. MDOT, as did a lot of agencies in a lot of PC/CR territory seemed to be convinced that everything was PC's fault, and just turning the tracks over to different ownership (short lines)would simply cure everything. By the early 80s, Michigan's "Rail Freight Program" was in deep financial trouble and could no longer be justified. I sat in on a few of the Rail Freight Task Force meetings in Lansing in '82/83 when the state was trying to get out of the subsidy business, and there were lots of issues being aired by all parties in the conference room.
One can only speculate how Michigan's rail map would be different today if the program had been better thought out from the beginning. Imagine how MIGN could have been if a full track rehab, and leasing of reliable power had been underwritten by the state in 1976/77.
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