A train service between Detroit, Michigan, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, could be reinstated within the next decade if state transportation experts can determine if the public wants a new line and can figure out how to pay for it. According to the Detroit News, supports say the idea of connecting Michigan's two largest cities by train would be a good idea and is gaining appeal on both sides of the state. Both sides of the state are currently undergoing economic revivals, making the passenger train service more appealing to business travelers and tourists. A lot of people also how family members and friends on the other side of the state, and this service would be beneficial to them as well.
The Michigan Environmental Council, a group based in Lansing, Michigan, that supports increasing public transportation options, has undertaken a $100,000 feasibility study and started a series of hearings this summer in order to get the public's input. Hearings are scheduled for later this month in the cities of Dearborn, Plymouth, Ypsilanti, and Brighton. In addition to this, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and the Michigan Department of Transportation are also involved.
'There really is not a way to connect to Michigan’s major cities and our coasts without taking a car,' said Elizabeth Treutel, a transportation police expert with the council. 'There are no rail options. If Michigan wants to be competitive, if we want to attract talent, if we want to keep our college-educated people here, we have to have more and better options to get around. And people have to be willing to recognize that and invest in it.'
Michigan hasn't had a train service from Grand Rapids to Detroit since Amtrack began in 1971. Even supporters acknowledge that re-instituting the service will be a challenge. Organizers have said that the line could take a decade to implement and that if it were to compete with traveling by car, it would have to travel between 79 and 110 mph. The idea has recently gained more appeal and could be in the works soon, but the high costs may prove to be a roadblock for this costly Michigan project.
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