Rail transit forum Thursday

By LISA ERMAK
Posted Sep 22, 2010 @ 05:30 AM
Holland, MI —

Three event highlights
1
Spark discussion: Tim Fischer, deputy policy director at the Michigan Environmental Council, said he hopes Michiganders attend a Thursday forum to express what they want from Michigan’s railroad system. “In 2008, the federal law mandated that each state reform a state rail plan which is really an assessment of the current rail system and exploration of the future system in order to receive future federal funds,” he said. “We’re jump-starting the discussion.”

2 Easier travel: Fischer also noted there are many cities in Michigan that remain unconnected by railroads. “People are desperate for a passenger rail from Holland to Grand Rapids to Lansing to Detroit.” He said he’s also heard lots of interest in a connection from northern Michigan to southern Michigan, mainly from Traverse City to Detroit.

3 Help boost tourism in Holland: “There’s been a lot of local people not only here in Holland, but in Bangor and St. Joe, looking for a morning train leaving Chicago and arriving in Holland by 11,” Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers member John Langdon said. “That would bring tourism to downtown Holland.”

Why you should attend
“There’s a bill in state legislature right now that would give up to $100 million in bonding authority for passenger rail projects,” Fischer said. If passed, half the money would be used as a match to draw federal Recovery Act money and the other half would be used to jump-start new commuter railroad proposals.

Fischer said the Michigan Department of Transportation is in the process of taking input from Michigan citizens in regards to railroad transportation.

About the event
when
6-8 p.m. Thursday
where Holland East Public School, 373 E. 24th St.
info Tim Fischer at (517) 487-9539 or http://www.MichiganByRail.org

How to submit your event
mail
54 W. Eighth St., Holland, MI 49424
e-mail newsroom@hollandsentinel.com
fax (616) 392-3526

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2 responses to “Rail transit forum Thursday

  1. Hello: I have one small item that I would like to add to your list of topics if time/space permits:

    Please urge Amtrak to allow bikes onto Amtrak trains that enter Michigan, especially from Chicago. This is not terribly difficult to achieve in my opinion – many Amtrak routes within Illinois and throughout the country allow bikes.

    Tourism to Holland, East Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit, etc. could be greatly enhanced if Amtrak allowed bikes on trains entering (or leaving) Michigan. Thank you.

    • This has come up at other forums. Amtrak performs the terms of the contracts which are determined by – in Michigan – MDOT. Please submit this input to MDOT – easily done by clicking on the State Rail Plan icons on this site. Thanks

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