FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: John DeLora, Executive Director or Mike Whims, Chairman
PHONE: (313) 575-6608 or (248) 892-4545
The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP) is deeply concerned about President George Bush’s Fiscal 2006 budget proposal. His administration proposes eliminating all funding for Amtrak, which would be detrimental to all Amtrak Michigan passenger rail services.
Amtrak currently serves three corridors in Michigan, which include Chicago to Detroit (Wolverine Services), Chicago to Port Huron (the Blue Water), and Chicago to Grand Rapids (the Pere Marquette), with a total of ten daily trains. The State of Michigan currently funds the operation of the Blue Water and the Pere Marquette, while Amtrak funds the Wolverine Service.
Should Congress approve zero funding for Amtrak, and then it will be up to each state to foot the bill for all operating costs. Michigan, like many other states, is suffering from budget deficits and cannot afford to make up these costs.
John DeLora, MARP Executive Director, feels these proposed cuts make no sense when ridership is increasing on all Michigan Amtrak trains.
“Over 600,000 Michigan passengers use Amtrak per year.” DeLora states. “It also serves several Michigan cities which do not have air or bus services.”
The loss of Amtrak trains could hit hard on college students traveling from cities like Ann Arbor, East Lansing, or Kalamazoo, business travelers from the Detroit area, and even weekend travelers going to Chicago from Grand Rapids. The train provides the best access to downtown Chicago compared to air. Also, many travelers like to avoid the heavy traffic on the highways by riding the train.
Congestion is getting worse on many roads and airports like Chicago’s O’Hare. Expanding Amtrak services and not eliminating it should be the goal of the Bush Administration to improve overall mobility of the country.
The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers is a non-profit corporation established in 1973 to improve passenger train service, travel conditions for passengers, and to work for the preservation of historic rail stations.
For further information please contact John DeLora at (313) 575-6608 or Mike Whims (248) 892-4545 or visit MARP’s website at http://www.marp.org.