Earlier this month, the Michigan Land Use Institute floated the idea of a new passenger train service from Ann Arbor to Traverse City. It’s a complicated process, but it appears that one of the biggest components is getting people excited about it.
Commuter rail plans in southeast Michigan are drawing fire from state legislators and other officials. The criticism stems from millions of dollars being spent on unused rail cars. Those rail cars await completion of projects between Ann Arbor and Detroit and between Ann Arbor and Howell. The Detroit Free Press, reporting on what it describes as “a $12-million debacle”, says the costs are to lease and refurbish 23 used rail cars MDOT acquired from a Chicago rail system.
Last week, the Michigan Department of Transportation along with Indiana and Illinois presented a proposal for passenger rail improvements on the Detroit to Chicago line. When running on time, the "Wolverine Line" takes riders from the Motor City to the Windy City in about five and a half hours. New plans hope to cut travel time considerably, and increase ridership significantly.
Regional transportation planners will use a federal grant to rebuild and enhance the Amtrak train station in East Lansing.
The $6.3 million grant will help the Capital Area Transportation Authority expand the Amtrak station near Michigan State University. CATA will create a 200-acre multi-modal facility, with a separate bus terminal, upgraded waiting platform and accommodations for taxis and bicycles.
U.S. Department of Transportation general counsel Robert Rivkin says the project is part of a $12 billion federal program to improve intercity rail service.