In Michigan
4:26 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Lawmakers weigh MI rail-to-trail dilemma

LANSING, MI –

A conversation about a small piece of unused train track in Petoskey has turned into a larger discussion about the future of train transit in Michigan. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, state lawmakers are weighing the benefits of converting old train tracks into recreational trails.

Officials in Petoskey are asking lawmakers to give them the go-ahead to negotiate the purchase of old, unused train track to add on to an existing recreational trail. The section is a rail "spur," which would be like a train's driveway off of a main line and into Petoskey.

Republican state Senator Geoff Hansen says he's particularly concerned with getting rid of a spur that could prove useful to future train transit in and out of the area.

"Because if we keep abandoning all of these, I'm just concerned about the fact that the more of these we abandon, we can't put these back," he says.

Those who support turning decaying train tracks into usable trails for hiking and biking say the trails support tourism and recreation on unused swaths of land. The Petoskey rail-to-trail conversation is expected to continue next week.