At the January 14, 2012, meeting at the Williamston Depot Museum in Williamston, the MARP Executive Committee approved the attached Route Enhancement Recommendations. We are asking all members to review these recommendations and help us keep abreast of the many wonderful projects underway in Michigan. We particularly need volunteers to help us track what is happening in Battle Creek, Troy and the proposed improvements between Porter, Indiana, and Chicago Union Station.
Please relay any information you have to: Hugh Gurney
2270 Hickory Circle Drive
Howell, MI 48855
- Assure that Section 209 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA), does not adversely affect passenger service in Michigan. (Section 209 mandates routes less than 750 miles become solely state-supported.)
a) Track status of implementation on a monthly basis.
b) Determine funding needed if PRIAA is implemented.
c) Establish communication links with MDOT, Amtrak, rail advocacy groups in affected states, & federal legislators to develop a unified position on actions needed, including rescinding of Section 209.
d) Investigate options to offset costs of PRIIA including extension of trains to Canada, the Eastern United States or points beyond Chicago on the West.
- Initiate commuter rail service between Ann Arbor and Detroit and between Howell and Ann Arbor (WALLY). Consider extension of WALLY to Durand and Flint.
a) Work with TRU and other advocacy groups for the establishment of a Southeast Michigan Transportation Authority.
b) Find champions at the local, state and federal levels who will push for implementation of local commuter services.
c) Facilitate a steering group including business, community, advocacy and political leaders to educate the public on the value of commuter service and market the service.
d) Hold demonstration runs in 2012.
- Initiate Community Benefit Studies to determine the possibilities of additional service on the Pere Marquette and Blue Water routes including the possibility of combining the two routes. Include in these studies additional Wolverine service between Battle Creek and Chicago.
a) Work with MEC and TRANS4M to identify a funding source for these studies.
b) Create an RFP
c) Select a consulting firm to conduct the studies, possibly the one that did the Grand Valley study.
d) Review and approve findings.
e) Communicate findings to affected communities, MDOT and the Michigan legislature.
- Assure an adequate level of funding for replacement of intercity motor coaches.
a) Meet with Indian Trails and other intercity carriers to identify needs.
b) Involve other advocacy groups including TRANS4M, MDOT and members of the Michigan legislature to secure an adequate level of funding.
c) Track expenditures once funding is secured.
- Ensure progress on all approved projects including MDOT acquisition of the Dearborn-Kalamazoo line and its upgrade to 110 mph speed, Amtrak upgrades Kalamazoo-Porter, the West Detroit Connector, CREATE, Indiana Gateway, purchase of new rolling stock, and station projects in Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Troy.
a) Report quarterly to the Executive Committee.
b) Demand explanations and corrective actions if projects fall behind schedule.
- Push for genuine connectivity between intercity bus and rail service in Michigan.
a) Work with Indian Trails, MDOT, and Amtrak to identify and overcome obstacles to having all Indian Trails routes in Michigan identified as Amtrak Thruway Routes.
b) Identify funding required to institute new intercity motor coach routes including north from New Buffalo along the Lake Michigan shoreline and daytime service Marquette-Milwaukee.
c) Create website page with information about how to get around Michigan by train and bus.
- Assure dedicated funding for passenger rail in Michigan
a) Determine the level of funding needed for an adequate passenger rail system in Michigan.
b) Support TRANS4M in its efforts to secure adequate funding for all transportation modes.
c) Enlist all transportation and environmental groups in advocating for a balanced transportation system in Michigan.
d) Insist that a full 10% of transportation funding be dedicated to public transportation including rail as specified by the Michigan Constitution.
e) If passenger rail funding remains inadequate even with 10% of the state transportation funding dedicated to public transportation, identify additional funding possibilities.