A new schedule for the Amtrak Pere Marquette will make it more convenient for passengers to attend sports, music and theatre events in Chicago and result in eight to 10 jobs being based in Grand Rapids, Mich.,effective May 4, 2015. The new schedule (attached) also improves connections with other Amtrak trains.
The current schedule allows a six-hour day in Chicago and was crafted for Chicago-based crew cycles. Last year’s opening of the Vernon J. Ehlers Station allowed for the creation of a crew base in downtown Grand Rapids and a nine-hour day for passengers to work or play in Chicago.
Amtrak employed 237 Michigan residents last year, with total wages of $19.5 million. Goods and services purchased in Michigan by Amtrak totaled $17.3 million in 2014.
All Amtrak service in Michigan is operated under a contract with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
Passenger train and mass transit programs in the state may see an estimated $112 million increase annually if voters approve an amendment to the state constitution on Tuesday, May 5, 2014, raising the sales tax and restructuring how taxes are collected for transportation.
In a December lame-duck session, Michigan lawmakers approved plans for a statewide ballot proposal, called Proposal 1, and an 11-bill package that could yield $1.2 billion a year in new funding for roads and bridges as well as the estimated $112 million increase to the Comprehensive Transportation Fund (CTF) which funds programs such as passenger trains, transit programs, intercity bus and freight rail.
The $112 million figure forthe CTF was announced by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder at a Dec. 18 press conference.
Actual funding levels for each program in the CTF are subject to future legislative debate and appropriation bills. The revenue generated for the CTF also will depend on fuel prices and other factors.
The proposal has been criticized as complicated and it has left many voters wondering what are the implications of a yes or no vote.
Gary Kuecken researched the issue and has broken it down here in terms of yes and no:
1The funding formula:
90% road repair and maintenance (for use only on road work)
39.1% Michigan Department of Transportation
39.1% county road commissions
21.8% cities and villages
10% Comprehensive Transportation Fund to benefit public transit programs
2Although it is very likely that this error will be corrected if the proposal is passed, the current wording of the current bill is as follows:
“the first $400,000,000.00 received and collected under this act” in FY2016 and “the first $800,000,000.00 received and collected under this act” in FY2017 would be distributed through the state funding formula
This amount applies to new revenue as well as existing funds such that around $1.7 billion (the $800 million intended earmark plus current baseline fuel tax revenue of around $900 million) would be earmarked for debt reduction in FY2016 resulting in a decrease in funding of $500 million from current levels.
The North-South Commuter Rail (WALLY) is a proposed 27-mile long commuter rail service that would connect Ann Arbor and Howell, with intermediate stops along the way. It is being evaluated as a way to improve mobility along US-23 and to promote economic development and job creation in the region.
A feasibility study is being undertaken by the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) to assess in detail the feasibility of the North-South Commuter Rail service. This federally-funded study will take about 15 months to complete and will consist of distinct phases and tasks that have been identified in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The results of this assessment, which includes in-depth public and stakeholder involvement, will be used to determine project costs, ridership, potential station locations, and the capacity and willingness of the affected communities to build, operate and help fund the project. If the project is found feasible, the study will help to prepare the project for future federal funding.
Two community meetings have already been held, one on March 12th at the Brighton Community Center and one on March 16th at the Ann Arbor District Library. A third meeting has been scheduled for:
Monday, March 30, 6:30-8:30 PM
Bennett Recreation Center
925 W. Grand River
The intent of these meetings is to provide an update on the status of the North-South Commuter Rail (WALLY) project and an overview of the feasibility study. There will be a presentation at the beginning of the meeting followed by discussion to answer questions and obtain public input on the project and the process. The presentation and format will be the same for all three meetings.
In addition to the meetings, an interactive website has been established and your participation is encouraged (www.nsrailstudy.com). For additional information, please contact Michael Benham at AAATA at (734) 794-1851 or email@example.com.
M-1 RAIL is a non-profit organization formed in 2007 to lead the design, construction, and future operation of a 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along Woodward Avenue between Congress Street and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan.
Once completed, there will be a stop at the Detroit Amtrak station.
M-1 RAIL is an unprecedented public-private partnership and model for regional collaboration Notably, the first major transit project being led and funded by both private businesses, philanthropic organizations, in partnership with local government, the State of Michigan, and U.S. Department of Transportation.
The mission of M-1 RAIL is to create a catalyst for investment, economic development and urban renewal that positively impacts the entire region through the construction of a streetcar circulator system running along and connecting Woodward Avenue from the Riverfront to the New Center and North End neighborhoods
The M-1 RAIL Woodward Avenue Streetcar project is envisioned to be one element of a future modern, world-class regional transit system where all forms of transportation, including rail, bus, vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian, are considered and utilized to build a vibrant, walkable region that includes a thriving Downtown Detroit. This city center is envisioned by supporters of M-1 RAIL to become a foundation for growth and prosperity throughout the surrounding neighborhoods adjacent to the Central Business District, Midtown, New Center and North End.
Amtrak is offering discounts on select routes in Michigan beginning January 5, 2015:
Book your travel now through March 30, 2015, for travel January 5 through March 31, 2015, to save. Your trip could take you to shimmering shores of Lake Michigan or Lake Huron, or bring you as far as Grand Rapids or Detroit.
Travel the following routes, including:
The Blue Water – which stops in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and the maritime town of Port Huron
The Pere Marquette – offers a scenic ride that connects Chicago and Grand Rapids.
The Wolverine – travels east from Chicago all the way to Detroit.
Have a Relaxing or Adventurous Winter Getaway
Make the most of The Midwest Winter Warm Up Sale and enjoy traveling in comfort with less stress and great amenities. Your winter getaway begins the minute you step onboard. And when you book now through March 30, 2015, for travel January 5 through March 31, 2015, you’ll have even more to enjoy — a savings of 20%.