Please join State Representative John Espinoza, 83rd District and other Amtrak supporters and guests panelists.
WHAT: Discussion on Amtrak’s funding and opposition to proposed cuts to the passenger rail service and how it affects you.
WHEN: Thursday, June 30, 2005 at 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: St. Clair County Community College
Room 150, Citizens First M-TEC Center
Corner of Glenwood and Erie Streets (Downtown Port Huron)
Join with members of the SEMG Sierra Club, Transportation Riders United (TRU) and Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers on Saturday, June 25, 2005 for a day long excursion from Pontiac to Kalamazoo to show support for full Federal funding of Amtrak. Proposed Federal budget cuts would virtually assure an end to passenger rail service in the State of Michigan.
We will meet at the Pontiac Amtrak station (free parking available) at 10 a.m. for a press conference/rally after which we will board the 11:05 a.m. train (see schedule below for times) bound for Kalamazoo…join us for the whole trip or just part of the journey as your time allows!!!
We will leaflet and converse with passengers at each stop along the route, urging them to contact their legislators to oppose any Federal budget cuts to Amtrak!!! According to Amtrak’s latest surveys, Michigan ridership is up 15% from last year, serving over 600,000 passengers per year and employing 133 Michigan state residents. Rep. Joe Knollenberg (MI) chairs the House Transportation Subcommittee for the Appropriations Committee in Washington, DC. If there is only one action you can take, please phone, email or FAX (letters may be subject to security delays) his office to let him know you want full funding support for Amtrak. (FAX number (202) 226-2356 or email: Rep. Joe email@example.com), as well your own national and state legislator since state funding is also at risk.
Help spread the word to your family, neighbors & friends!!! Don’t allow George Bush and his Congressional allies to pull the plug on Amtrak by taking away Federal support!!
Don’t Delay; Riders must buy their own tickets or make reservations on line at www.Amtrak.com or at a staffed Amtrak station. The earlier the better; the fare could increase as it gets closer to the departure date or the train could reach capacity. Amtrak officials say that we should not wait for the special discount. Please R.V.S.P. Ed McArdle 313-388-6645 or firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can notify Amtrak to make special arrangements.
For more info contact: TRU (313)963-8872 email@example.com or Sierra Club (313)388-6645 firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Dept. of Transportation office of the Inspector General released its Congressionally-mandated annual report on Amtrak Nov. 22, 2004.
In the report, USDOT Inspector General Kenneth Mead is critical of plans to continue operating Amtrak in its current manner.
“Unsustainably large operating losses, poor on-time performance, and increasing levels of deferred infrastructure and fleet investment are a clarion call to the need for significant changes in Amtrak’s strategy,” Mead wrote in a memo accompanying the report. “Continued deferral brings Amtrak closer to a major point of failure on the system but no one knows where or when such a failure will occur.”
A copy of the report is available on the USDOT website.
The National Association of Rail Passengers issued a press release critical of the D.O.T. report Nov. 22. It is located at http://www.narprail.org/r04.htm.
Check MARP’s news page for the national and local media’s news perspective on the report.
In October 2004, SEMCOG hosted public environmental impact meetings for the proposed Ann Arbor-Airport-Detroit rail/transit study that could lead to the resumption of commuter train service on the line.
More recently, this project received a $100 million grant to continue to the next phase of the study.
More information is available at the project website: www.annarbordetroitrapidtransitstudy.com.
The Toledo Metro Area Council of Governments and the Ohio Rail Development Commission rolled out the Ohio and Lake Erie Rail Hub Plan to the public beginning autumn 2004.
The proposal includes a plan to improve passenger rail between Southeast Michigan and Northern Ohio including the Detroit-Toledo-Cleveland corridor.
Other areas to be service by the proposed rail hub include Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.
There were a series of hearings in late 2004 and early 2005.
For more information visit: OHIO & LAKE ERIE REGIONAL RAIL OHIO HUB STUDY WEBSITE or www.dot.state.oh.us/ohiorail. Call (419)241-9155.