Michigan railroad study planned

From the Holland Sentinel:

Want to take the train into Detroit for a day trip or get some work done on your morning commute to Lansing?

Michigan isn’t there yet, but it’s taking the first steps toward passenger rail from Holland to Detroit and points in between with a proposed feasibility study for the project.

“This is really an opportunity to get started. This is a long-term issue,” said John Langdon, governmental and public affairs coordinator with the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers.

Following the first successful study, more would follow. The project could take 10 or 20 years, Langdon said.

MARP and the Michigan Environmental Council are behind the study and asked the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council for a letter of support and a donation toward the study’s cost. At its Monday meeting, the MACC approved a $500 and sending a letter of support.

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority is the study’s primary sponsor and the agency applying for a Michigan Department of Transportation grant to complete this first stage.

The maximum speed on the Pere Marquette from Holland is 65 mph. This is proposed to travel at 79 mph.

It’s hard to say how long it would take to get to Detroit from Holland, since the route isn’t fully laid out. However, from Holland to Grand Rapids would take about half an hour to 45 minutes, the same as driving — but without the driving.

The planned route largely follows the I-96 corridor.

Michigan’s three largest population centers — Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing — would be connected by passenger rail for the first time since 1970. It would connect 19 college campuses, the Grand Rapids Lansing and Detroit airports and a handful of major medical centers in the state.

The planned route would include Detroit, Williamston, East Lansing, Lansing, Grand Ledge, Kentwood, Grand Rapids, Hudsonville Grandville and Holland. Depending on the route selected, stops could also include Livonia, Plymouth, Dearborn, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Hamburg, Whitemore Lake, Genoa, South Lyon and Howell.