Rapid to host ground-breaking on new Amtrak station Friday

From The Grand Rapids Press:

The Interurban Transit Partnership, also known as the Rapid, will break ground Friday on a long-awaited new Grand Rapids Amtrak station.

A noon ceremony in the Area 6 DASH parking lot south of the Rapid Central Station platform will be attended by Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell and representatives from Amtrak, the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority and the Rapid board of directors. The guest of honor will be former congressman Vern Ehlers.

The site of the new station is directly south of the Rapid Central Station and is scheduled for completion in spring 2013. It would streamline the Grand Rapids end of Amtrak’s Pere Marquette train route between here and Chicago.

Ehlers secured a $3.8 million federal earmark for the project, but later voted against the spending bill that contained it.

Vice President Joe Biden, a well-known Amtrak passenger, might have enjoyed attending the ceremony had it coincided with his local fund-raising stop today, but Rapid public outreach coordinator Bill Kirk said it was planned before officials learned of Biden’s Grand Rapids visit.

Source: http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/10/rapid_to_host_ground-breaking.html