Advocates tell residents to lobby for better rail service


City of Ann Arbor transportation manager Eli Cooper drew a line between two dots representing Detroit and Ann Arbor on a large Michigan map.

“The first goes here,” he said referring to what he and many others see as the first priority for an improved rail line in Michigan.

Area residents at the Michigan By Rail public forum Thursday night at Washtenaw Community College were instructed to put stickers on large maps representing important places in Michigan, then draw lines where they would like to see rail service developed. Cooper chose Detroit to Ann Arbor, and one of his group members quickly picked up a marker and drew the next line from Ann Arbor to Chicago.

A pattern quickly emerged as the roughly 10 groups of about 10 people filled in their maps. They connected the cities of southern Michigan’s urbanized network to Chicago and some lines went north to the state’s tourist destinations.

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