LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Amtrak riders in Michigan will be getting Wi-Fi access next year.
The Michigan Department of Transportation is spending about $1 million to install Wi-Fi on the state's Amtrak trains by January. Improving Internet access should increase ridership and produce higher revenues that more than offset the cost, department spokesman Nick Schirripa told MLive.com (http://bit.ly/1dQjCxu ).
Amtrak gets state and federal subsidies and has three routes in Michigan. The Blue Water runs from Port Huron to Chicago, the Pere Marquette from Grand Rapids to Chicago and the Wolverine from Pontiac to Chicago.
Michigan's funding for Amtrak is $25.2 million in the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, up from $8 million this fiscal year.
Amtrak had 793,000 passengers in Michigan last year, generating $27.8 million in revenue.
"The installation of Wi-Fi service on Amtrak trains in Michigan makes passenger rail travel more attractive, efficient and productive throughout the state," Tim Hoeffner, director of the Michigan's rail office, said in a statement. "We are proud Michigan is the first Midwestern state to offer Wi-Fi service on all its Amtrak lines."
To avoid overloading the network, passengers will be restricted from streaming videos and downloading files larger than 10 megabytes, the department said.