The legislature finds it important to develop public support and awareness of the benefits of high-speed ground transportation by developing high quality intercity passenger rail service as a first step. This high quality intercity passenger rail service shall be developed through incremental upgrading of the existing service. The department of transportation shall, subject to legislative appropriation, develop a prioritized list of projects to improve existing passenger rail service and begin new passenger rail service, to include but not be limited to:
(1) Improvement of depots;
(2) Improved grade crossing protection or grade crossing elimination;
(3) Enhanced train signals to improve rail corridor capacity and increase train speeds;
(4) Revised track geometry or additional trackage to improve ride quality and increase train speeds; and
(5) Contract for new or improved service in accordance with federal requirements to improve service frequency.
Service enhancements and station improvements must be based on the extent to which local comprehensive plans contribute to the viability of intercity passenger rail service, including providing efficient connections with other transportation modes such as transit, intercity bus, and roadway networks. Before spending state moneys on these projects, the department of transportation shall seek federal, local, and private funding participation to the greatest extent possible. Funding priorities for station improvements must also be based on the level of local and private in-kind and cash contributions.