Group studies possible passenger rail around MI

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Traveling by train may be the new way to travel between big Michigan cities — if people are interested, that is.

Michigan By Rail and its partners are asking the public for input on a possible new rail line that would connect Grand Rapids to places like Lasing, Ann Arbor and Detroit.

“It’s near impossible to get to Detroit from Grand Rapids via rail. You have to go drive south and get on the Wolverine line. It’s not very convenient,” said Liz Treutel of the Michigan Environmental Council.

Michigan By Rail is currently conducting a study to see how many people would ride the route and the cost to construct it.

The study, which is being managed by the Michigan Environmental Council and the Michigan Department of Transportation, costs $100,000. $80,000 of that came from a federal grant and the remaining $20,000 was provided by local organizations, including local governments.

If the study shows interest, it would be another eight to 10 years until the new line would be running.

The consulting firm Transportation Economics and Management Systems Inc. has been hired to complete the technical analysis of the suggested line. A final report is expected by December.

There was a meeting Thursday evening at the Cascade Township Library to discuss the idea, and more meetings are planned for the coming weeks:

Grand Rapids:
Monday, June 15
6:00-7:30 PM
The Rapid Central Station Conference Room
250 Grandville Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Detroit:
Thursday, June 18
6:00-7:30 PM
U-M Detroit Center
3663 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201

Ann Arbor:
Monday, June 22
6:00-7:30 PM
The Ride Boardroom
2700 S. Industrial Hwy
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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