Category Archives: Action alerts

These are items that we are asking members to take action upon.

Transport Canada announces end to Algoma Central Railway passenger service Mar. 31, 2014!

ACRhearst_routemapOn Friday, January 24, Hearst Mayor Roger Sigouin was informed by Canadian National Railways representatives that federal funding for passenger rail service from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearts was cut.

As a result, Algoma Central Railway passenger rail service between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst will cease to exist as of Monday, March 31, 2014.

There are a number of properties, including privates cottages, hunting and fishing lodges and other tourist destinations, along that stretch that can only be accessed by rail.

The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) is seeking assistance in having the decision to discontinue this rail service reversed and requests that public supporters assist by submitting letters of support to both Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes (bryan.hayes@parl.gc.ca) and Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes (carol.hughes@parl.gc.ca).

CAPT asks that any communication on this matter submitted to MPs Hayes and Hughes be copied to CAPT via info@captrains.ca

For more information about CAPT, please click here

TAKE ACTION: Troy city council to decide the fate of the transit center Dec. 19

Midwest High-Speed RailTroy, Michigan, has been chosen for an $8.4 million federal grant that will fund 100% of a new Multi-Modal Transportation Facility. On December 19th, the City Council will vote on whether to keep or reject these funds. Make your voice heard by asking the City Council to keep the grant – and the jobs and private investment that come with it.

The proposed transportation facility will bring economic development, jobs, environmental, and mobility benefits to the local community. It will service both SMART buses and improved passenger rail along the Chicago-to-Pontiac route, which is slated to reach 110 mph capability in the near future. The federal grant will cover all of the project’s estimated design and construction costs, and the City is protected from cost overruns through an agreement with the construction manager.

A similar federally funded project in Normal, Illinois, resulted in 375 jobs and $200 million in private investment, including a new hotel and conference center near the station. It is also projected that nearby property values will rise. Neither the City of Troy or the State of Michigan can afford to lose federal investments and the jobs that come with them.

Please urge the City Council to support keeping the federal grant and building the new station.

 

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Transit Advocacy Day at the Capitol May 17, 2011

The Let’s Get Moving coalition is holding a big Transit Advocacy Day at the Capitol on May 17 and you’re invited!  Bus riders, employees, transit system operators and other transit supporters will come together to tell Michigan legislators why transit matters and to oppose cuts in state transit funding.

When:              Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Where:             Speaker’s Library, Second Floor of the State Capitol Building
Who:               Transit riders, operators, managers and advocates from around the state
Why:               To promote and protect public transit services

Advocacy Day Schedule
10am   Welcome and Introduction
10:30   Issue Briefing and Training Session
11:30   Legislative Luncheon  (Please ask your State Legislators to attend!)
1:30     Transit Press Conference (optional)                           
2pm     Transit Advocates Roundtable Discussion (optional)

Please RSVP online at www.tinyurl.com/TransitDay or call 517-372-0860.

Please also contact your State Representative and State Senator beforehand.  Tell their scheduler that you are a constituent and would like to meet with them when you are in Lansing.  The legislators are invited and encouraged to attend the luncheon with you (between 11:30am and 1:30pm) or you can schedule a separate meeting during the day.

With questions or for more information, contact Capitol Services at 517-372-0860.

High Speed Rail in Michigan could become a reality if the State Senate acts

From the Detroit Free Press

The benefits to Metro Detroit of intercity passenger rail and commuter rail service are clear — economic development, environmental improvement, affordable connections between our communities and convenient travel to and from home and work.

The sticking point has been how to pay for it. Until now.

Successful funding and completion of these projects will mean trains hitting 110 m.p.h. on more than 200 miles of track along the Detroit-to-Chicago corridor — ranked by transportation planners as one of the most viable high speed rail routes outside of the coasts.

The Michigan Department of Transportation estimates they could complete the needed upgrades in less than 24 months. Once completed, metro Detroiters could zip to Chicago in four hours or less, shaving 1.5 hours off the current trip.

The corridor will also have three new or upgraded train stations, paid for with the first round of high speed rail grants.

Michigan competed successfully against other states for this money. The Federal Rail Administration warned that states needed to show political support for their existing passenger rail systems and a viable way to fund the local match money to draw the federal funds.

Fortunately, the Michigan legislature showed support for Michigan’s existing passenger rail system. For the first time in years, FY 2011 budgets passed by the state Senate and House fully funded Michigan’s existing passenger rail program from the outset. These commitments strengthened Michigan’s high speed rail grant application and helped us draw the $161 million in federal money for Michigan’s high speed rail route.

Moreover, the newly elected governors of Ohio and Wisconsin have pledged to reject almost $1.3 billion of federal high speed rail grants. When those grants are reallocated, Michigan could cash in.

The second opportunity is legislation — HB 6484 — introduced by Rep. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. This bill would help pay for our portion of the required federal match for high speed rail and other similar projects being developed. It’s critical that the state senate pass this bill and the governor sign it into law.

These funding opportunities could put our state on track. It’s a game changer for Michigan. Republicans and Democrats, chambers of commerce, labor, local governments and environmental groups are now speaking the same language.

The window of opportunity is closing. Urge your state senator to support HB 6484 so we can draw $161 million in federal rail funds (and perhaps more) and start building the regional rail we’ve talked about for so long.

Guest column: Michigan lawmakers must act to secure $161 million for fast passenger rail service

From The Grand Rapids Press

Grand Rapids is on the verge of a passenger rail renaissance that promises to accelerate economic development, boost tourism, help the environment and better connect Grand Rapidians with the rest of the state and the nation.

In order to make that happen, state senators must approve legislation securing $161 million in federal rail funds to start building the fast passenger rail service we’ve talked about for so long.

Legislation currently before the state Senate — HB 6484 — would fund Michigan’s required state match for the federal high speed rail funding. If the state Senate fails to pass this bill Michigan will allow $161 million to slip away. That would hinder the possibility of high speed connections on the Chicago-Detroit corridor and miss the opportunity to strengthen passenger rail travel to Grand Rapids.

We must urge our state senators to pass this bill.

With the federal funding, Michigan will purchase and upgrade 135 miles of track between Dearborn and Kalamazoo. Plans also include three new or improved train stations along the way.

Successful funding and completion of these projects means trains hitting 110 mph on more than 200 miles of track along southern Michigan’s corridor. This is a game-changing opportunity for our state. Republicans and Democrats, labor, local governments, chambers of commerce, and environmental groups are now on the same page.

Meanwhile, Grand Rapids is doing its part.

In early November, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) approved $850,000 for a new Amtrak station, which will help secure a $3.8 million federal grant. The new facility will transform the Amtrak service from Chicago into a more efficient system by alleviating congestion and speeding arrival into the station.

The DDA’s contribution is one way of showing commitment required by the Federal Rail Administration to be considered for federal funding. The state, as well, must also show political and financial support for existing passenger rail systems. That’s why it is so crucial that the state Senate approve this bill before the end of the year.

Demonstrating such enthusiasm also may help Michigan get funds that other states are turning down.

The newly elected governors of Wisconsin and Ohio are rejecting almost $1.3 billion in federal high speed rail grants. Those funds will be redistributed “in a professional way in places where the money can be well spent,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

There’s no reason that place can’t be Michigan. And no reason the State Senate shouldn’t enthusiastically say, “Yes” to Michigan and pass HB 6484.

Rick Chapla is vice president of business development at the Right Place, Inc. in Grand Rapids.

Source: http://www.mlive.com/opinion/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/11/guest_column_michigan_lawmaker.html