ACTION ALERT! Tell your state legislator to restore funding for Michigan passenger trains to 2009 levels ($7.3 million) in the new transportation budget

September 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases 

The Michigan senate slashed fiscal year 2010 funds for Michigan passenger train service by almost half. The Michigan house of representatives followed the governor’s recommended budget and slashed fiscal year 2010 funds by 22%. Two of the state’s three train routes will cease to operate by early or late spring next year under these budgets. What’s worse is that these actions jeopardize the state’s application for $800 million in federal grants to build a high-speed route linking Detroit to Chicago and other destinations throughout the Midwest and to improve train operations and stations throughout Michigan.

Michigan’s continued investment in current train service is essential to leveraging the federal funding available to bring passenger trains into the 21st century, along with the jobs and economic development that will accompany this expansion.

Please PHONE or EMAIL your state senator and representative NOW.

– Tell them YOU RIDE THE TRAIN, and

– Ask them to RESTORE FUNDING for the Pere Marquette and the Blue Water routes to the full $7.3 million provided in the current year.

Phone or email Your Legislator http://senate.michigan.gov/SenatorInfo/find-your-senator.htm – (517) 373-2400 http://house.michigan.gov/find_a_rep.asp – (517) 373-0135

Let Governor Granholm Know You Support Trains http://www.michigan.gov/gov/0,1607,7-168-21995—,00.html – (517) 335-7858 – Constituent Services

The Blue Water route provides daily roundtrip service to Port Huron, Lapeer, Flint, Durand, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Dowagiac and Niles. The Pere Marquette provides daily service for travelers in Grand Rapids, Holland, Bangor, St. Joseph, and New Buffalo.

Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers

Citizen group to State Legislature: Seven-day train service vital for Michigan’s downtowns, travelers

July 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases 

For Immediate Release

30 July 2009

Contact:
John Langdon, Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers: 616.218.9009
Tim Fischer, Michigan Environmental Council: 517.487.3606 ext. 12

The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers has unanimously approved a resolution of support for continuing seven day a week passenger train service on both the Pere Marquette and Blue Water routes.

“Recent actions in Lansing have prompted us to take this action to protect a travel choice that is more important than ever in this difficult economy,” said John DeLora, who chairs the organization.

Proposed state budget cuts would eliminate at least one and perhaps both of the train routes at a time when more riders than ever rely on them.

“Ridership on these routes has grown more than 50% in the last six years,” DeLora said.

Convenient passenger trains service is an important component of revitalizing Michigan’s economy, said Tim Fischer, deputy policy director with the Michigan Environmental Council.

“Killing rail service will rip vital economic arteries from the hearts of downtowns served by these trains,” Fischer said. “This would be a loss not just for the riders, but for dozens of Michigan towns.”

Passenger trains have become increasingly essential over the last decade despite years of underfunding at the federal level. Last April, President Obama announced a $13 billion initiative to dramatically improve and expand train service throughout the nation.

“Michigan has a good chance to capture some of this funding to complete the high speed rail line connecting Chicago and Detroit,” said John Langdon, governmental affairs coordinator.

The state of Michigan provides operational support for two of the three routes in Michigan. The Pere Marquette, which is celebrating its 25th year of service, serves Grand Rapids, Holland, Bangor, St. Joseph, and New Buffalo. The Blue Water serves Port Huron, Lapeer, Flint, Durand, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Dowagiac, and Niles.

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The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP) is a 501 (c)(3) 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 more information, visit www.marp.org.

Full funding proposed for Michigan’s Amtrak services in 2006-07 budget

April 19, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Announcements, Press Releases 

Full funding for Michigan’s Amtrak service (Pere Marquette and Bluewater trains) were included in the Governor’s budget for 2006-07 fiscal year and were introduced to the State House of Representative and the State Senate in February.

The Micigan Legislature cut funding for Amtrak’s Michigan service by $1 million in the 2005-06 budget.

HB 5737, introduced Feb. 21 by Rep. Rich Brown (D-Bessemer) and SB 1097, introduced Feb. 28 by Sen. Jim Barcia (D-Bay City) and Sen. Bob Emerson (D-Flint) both place the Governor’s Executive Budget on the floor. Her budget includes the full $7.1 million for Amtrak funding for 2006-07.

There appears to be no bill that reinstates the $1 million shortfall for passenger rail in the 2005-06 budget yet. The implications for an uninterupted passenger rail service schedule until the end of the budget year (Sept. 30) are unknown as of this date.

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Amtrak trains are still running in Michigan despite budget cuts

September 30, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases 

Governor Granholm signed into law the FY 2006 budget act (P.A. 158) which authorizes $6.1 million for operation of the Blue Water and Pere Marquette trains for the budget year. The act requires that both trains run on a 7-day per week schedule and serve all cities along their routes. The act also provides for penalties if Amtrak chooses to eliminate any of the service prior to the end of the budget year (September 30, 2006).

The act also requires MDOT to work toward finding ways to reduce expenses of operating the trains. This could mean a number of things, such as station staffing, food service, and other operational costs.

There is a provision for increasing the funding level to $7.1 million if Amtrak signs an agreement to move its Beech Grove, Indiana equipment repair and maintenance operation to Battle Creek. Amtrak has already indicated that this is unlikely to occur.

The act is silent regarding fares. Amtrak could conceivably raise its fares to make up for the shortfall in state support. Amtrak has already announced a nationwide fare increase to offset rising fuel expenses.

MARP believes these Amtrak routes are a valuable form of transportation for many Michigan communities. In addition, Amtrak provides jobs to Michigan citizens and purchases goods and services from several Michigan businesses. “The increasing ridership proves that Michigan citizens want the service. High fuel prices and airline bankruptcies make train service even more critical for the future,” said Whims.

MARP wishes to thank its members who communicated their support of Michigan passenger rail service to community leaders and state officials. MARP will continue to work with MDOT and state officials toward reinstating the $7.1 million funding level during the budget year. It is important to let people know that both trains are still running.

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TWO MICHIGAN AMTRAK ROUTES COULD STOP IN OCTOBER

September 19, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

September 19, 2005

CONTACT: Mike Whims, Chairman or John DeLora, Executive Director PHONE: (248) 892-4545 or (313) 575-6608

Many Michigan Amtrak passengers may be left at the station after state Legislators recommended cutting $1 million from Michigan’s fiscal year 2006 passenger rail budget on Thursday. The budget will go to Governor Granholm. If approved, this cut will end the Port Huron – East Lansing – Chicago Blue Water and the Grand Rapids – Holland – Chicago Pere Marquette trains.

The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP) opposes any cuts to Amtrak, especially at a time when both the Blue Water and Pere Marquette are experiencing ridership increases. During the first half of the current fiscal year, the Blue Water has experienced a 21% ridership increase and the Pere Marquette has seen an 11% increase compared to the same period a year ago.

Amtrak currently receives $7.1 million from the state; however, Senate Bill 281 would cut next year’s budget down to $6.1 million. Cutting $1million from Amtrak’s budget forces both the Blue Water and Pere Marquette to be eliminated under the current contract with the state. The bill contains an amendment by Rich Brown (D-Bessemer) that would restore funding if Amtrak would move a major maintenance facility from Beech Grove, Indiana (near Indianapolis) to Michigan.

“This is political blackmail,” said Mike Whims, MARP Chairman. “Amtrak is not going to move a multi-million dollar facility based solely on getting back the $1 million it already needs for Michigan train operations.”

MARP believes these Amtrak routes are a valuable form of transportation for many Michigan communities. In addition, Amtrak provides jobs to Michigan citizens and purchases goods and services from several Michigan businesses. “The increasing ridership proves that Michigan citizens want the service. High fuel prices and airline bankruptcies make train service even more critical for the future,” said Whims.

Citizens are urged to contact Governor Granholm, state representatives, and state senators to voice support for Amtrak.

The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers is an all volunteer, 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 Mike Whims (248) 892-4545 or John DeLora at (313) 575-6608 or visit MARP’s website at http://www.marp.org.

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Town Hall Meeting on Amtrak Funding

June 30, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Announcements 

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)

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Help Stop the Great Train Robbery!!

June 25, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Announcements, Press Releases 

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 knollenberg@mail.house.gov), 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 ecoed@netzero.net so that we can notify Amtrak to make special arrangements.

For more info contact: TRU (313)963-8872 trumember@detroittransit.org or Sierra Club (313)388-6645 ecoed@netzero.net

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MICHIGAN TRAIN RIDE & RALLY TO SAVE AMTRAK

June 21, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases 

MEDIA ADVISORY

June 21, 2005  

Contacts:
Mike Whims, President, MARP: mwhims@detroittransit.org; 248-892-4545
Ed McArdle, SEMG Sierra Club: ecoed@netzero.net; 313-388-6645
John Langdon, Chair, SWM Chapter MARP: john-langdon@sbcglobal.net, 616-218-9009
Kay Chase, Chair, Kalamazoo Environmental Council: chase@wmich.edu 269-387-5237

Please include in local announcements and calendars.

On Saturday, June 25, there will be a press conference and rally to call attention to state and federal budget cuts that threaten the passenger trains that serve Michigan. A pending cut of $1 million from Michigan’s next fiscal year budget could end the Port Huron – Kalamazoo – Chicago Blue Water train and the Grand Rapids – St Joseph – Chicago – Pere Marquette train. In Congress, the budget recommendation from the transportation committee headed by Michigan’s Rep. Joe Knollenberg would severely impact service on the Wolverine trains that serves the Detroit – Kalamazoo – Chicago corridor.

Organizers invite the community to show their support by joining them at the Kalamazoo Intermodal Center, 459 N. Burdick, to greet train Number 353 when it arrives from the east at approximately 2:50 p.m. on Saturday. Local lawmakers have been invited to attend, as have representatives of Metro Transit, the Chamber of Commerce, the United Transportation Union, and the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

On board the train will be members of Sierra Club’s southeast Michigan group (SEMG), the Michigan Association of Rail Passengers (MARP) and Transit Riders United of Detroit (TRU). The groups will rally earlier in Pontiac and Ann Arbor to “Stop the Great Train Robbery!” Along the way they have distributed information and talked to fellow passengers about the importance of letting decision makers know that train travel is an option people want and need. The group will be joined in Kalamazoo by members of local Sierra Club, the Southwest Region Chapter-Michigan Association of Rail Passengers, the Kalamazoo Environmental Council, and Transportation Action Strategy for Kalamazoo.

“There has been great support for passenger rail by our local leaders,” said Kay Chase, MARP member and frequent train passenger, “and they need to know that we are behind them. Senator George just last week was on the losing side of an effort to restore the $1 million that is crucial to continued operation of the Blue Water train. And in Washington, Congressman Fred Upton has been a strong advocate for our Michigan trains.”

According to Amtrak’s latest ridership reports, Michigan ridership is up 12.8% from last year, serving over 600,000 passengers in 2004. Kalamazoo has the 2nd highest ridership in the state-over 75,000 per year. During the first eight months of the current fiscal year, the Blue Water line, which serves the Port Huron-Kalamazoo-Chicago corridor, experienced a 20.4% ridership gain. Amtrak employs 133 Michigan state residents earning $6.4 million annually in wages and salaries. Their paychecks support local economies across the state. A recent economic impact study found that 60 Michigan vendors have contracts with Amtrak worth $2.8 million per year. Train travel reduces dependence on foreign oil and lessens the impact on global warming. Intercity trains emit up to three times less pollution per passenger mile than automobiles and six times less than airplanes. People are finding train travel to be convenient and cost-effective as airline security becomes more intrusive and highways become more congested.

For more information on the Michigan Association of Rail Passengers, visit www.marp.org

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MICHIGAN TRAIN RIDE & RALLY TO SAVE AMTRAK

AMTRAK BLUE WATER AND PERE MARQUETTE SERVICE THREATENED

June 8, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 8, 2005

CONTACT: John DeLora, Executive Director or Mike Whims, Chairman PHONE: (313) 575-6608 or (248) 892-4545  

Michigan House Bill 4831, that proposes to cut $1 million from the fiscal year 2006 passenger rail budget, is threatening Amtrak services in Michigan. If approved, this massive reduction could end the Port Huron – East Lansing- Chicago Blue Water and the Grand Rapids – Holland – Chicago Pere Marquette.

The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP) opposes any cuts to Amtrak, especially at a time when both the Blue Water and Pere Marquette are experiencing ridership increases. During the first half of the current fiscal year, the Blue Water has experienced a 21% ridership increase and the Pere Marquette has seen an 11% increase compared to the same period a year ago.

“This makes no sense to cut funding for these trains,” said John DeLora, MARP executive director. “Both trains are performing very well and Michigan travelers want the service.”

The threat to the two Michigan Amtrak trains comes at a bad time for Amtrak as the Bush Administration has proposed to eliminate the funding nationally. The Bush Administration wants to “reform” Amtrak by eliminating federal operational funding and have each state be fiscally responsible for intercity passenger rail services should they desire to keep trains running through their respective states.

“Obviously having the states foot the bill for passenger rail will not work.” Mike Whims, MARP Chairman, stated. “If we are fighting over a million dollars out of a multi-billion dollar state transportation budget to keep the Blue Water and Pere Marquette trains running, what will it be like to get the state to fund the Chicago – Detroit – Pontiac trains that are now funded nationally? It’s a plan for disaster.”

Cutting $1 million from Amtrak’s budget forces both the Blue Water and Pere Marquette to be eliminated under the current contract with the state. Plus, there is no fair procedure to determine which train to eliminate especially since both trains are performing so well.

Last month, chambers of commerce and convention bureaus from cities along Michigan Amtrak routes, went to Chicago aboard Amtrak to promote tourism to Michigan. Having Amtrak service in Michigan offers important transportation access especially in times of high gas prices, gridlock on highways, and security delays at airports.

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.

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Threatened end to Blue Water and Pere Marquette

June 1, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Press Releases 

State Representative Shelley Taub (R-Bloomfield Hills), who sits as chair of the Transportation subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee has announced her intention to propose a $1 million cut in state funding of the Blue Water and Pere Marquette trains. This will be fast-tracked in budget session June 7, 8 and 9.

MDOT has stated that if this occurs, the $7.1 million requirement to operate the trains cannot be met, and both trains will be eliminated. This is because one contract with Amtrak covers operation of both trains, and there is no fair process to determine which train should be eliminated. The remainder of funds, $6.1 million, would be utilized on other rail needs in the state.

Please let your local legislators know your concern about the proposal to eliminate Blue Water and Pere Marquette train service. If this proposal is adopted by the House Appropriations Committee as part of its State Budget, the Senate is likely to go along with it. It is important to email or call your local State Representative and Senator.

Ridership on the Blue Water has increased 21% year to date April 30,2005 compared to the same period last year. The Pere Marqutee has seen an 11% increase. Michigan residents are continuing to discover the practical, financial and safety benefits of riding the train.

Please take a few minutes to call or email your State representatives now. Leaving a message on their office voice mail is effective. Remember to provide your name and address.

Use MARP’s political contact web page to look up your representative’s or sentator’s contact information. Remember the $1 million reduction is proposed by the Michigan Legislature. Contact your U.S. representative or senator about proposed federal reductions in Amtrak’s budget.

Additional key elected officials to contact are:

  • Rep. Shelley Taub
    shelleytaub@house.mi.gov
    517-373-8670 (ph)
    517-373-5868 (fax)
  • Rep. Scott Hummel
    scotthummel@house.mi.gov
    517-373-1778 (ph)
    517-373-5780 (fax)
  • Rep. Gretchen Whitmer
    gretchenwhitmer@house.mi.gov
    517-373-1786 (ph)
    517-373-5717 (fax)
  •  

      REPRESENTATIVES

      SENATORS

    Please pass this information along to others as soon as possible.

     

     

  • Sen. Shirley Johnson
    sensjohnson@senate.michigan.gov
    517-373-2523 (ph)
    517-373-5669 (fax)
  • Sen. Michael Prusi
    senmprusi@senate.michigan.gov
    517-373-7840 (ph)
    517-373-3932 (fax)
  • MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS OPPOSES THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S PLAN FOR AMTRAK

    March 24, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
    Filed under: Press Releases 

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    MARCH 24, 2005

    CONTACT: John DeLora, Executive Director or Mike Whims, Chairman
    PHONE: (313) 575-6608 or (248) 892-4545  

    Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta and the Bush Administration think letting Amtrak go into bankruptcy is the solution for intercity passenger rail. However, the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP) views this plan weak and irresponsible.

    Secretary Mineta is visiting various cities across the U.S. talking about the Bush Administration’s plan for intercity passenger rail, which includes the “Passenger Rail Investment Act” that will soon be re-introduced to Congress. MARP feels this plan is full of holes and could leave many parts are the country without intercity passenger rail service.

    Part of the Bush Administration’s plan is to shift passenger rail funding to the individual states. This plan is weak for states to be able to afford passenger rail funding when they are suffering from budget woes. Here in Michigan, the state currently funds the operation of the Chicago to Port Huron Blue Water and the Chicago to Grand Rapids Pere Marquette, while Amtrak funds the Chicago to Detroit Wolverine Service. This year, the Michigan Department of Transportation provided $7.1 million in operating subsidies to keep the Blue Water and Pere Marquette trains running. Under the Bush Administration’s plan, those subsidies are expected to significantly increase if the state is responsible to subsidize the Wolverine Service.

    Finding dedicated passenger rail funds will be difficult for the state of Michigan and the federal government. In Michigan, it’s often an annual legislative battle to get transportation dollars while the federal government has to appropriate subsidies from the general fund for Amtrak. Secretary Mineta has not addressed where any dedicated rail passenger funding will come from.

    “Mineta commends states like California for creating a partnership with Amtrak and expanding passenger rail.” Said John DeLora, MARP Executive Director. “He (Mineta) does not mention passenger rail gets funding through a dedicated gas tax that California voters approved in the early 1990′s.”

    DeLora fears Michigan may not support a rise in gas taxes to pay for passenger rail, especially with the current fuel costs. This could mean all Michigan Amtrak could come to a grinding halt if there is no money.

    Mineta contends the long-distance Amtrak trains are the real money losers and the “anchor bringing down the entire Amtrak system.” MARP argues this is not true when the long distance trains help support a bigger network and offer transportation services to places where there are no airlines, buses, or easy access to highways. Mineta thinks it would be cheaper to give a passenger an airline ticket versus subsidizing an Amtrak train. How can this be done in cities like Port Huron, Lapeer, Durand, or Niles where there are no airports or bus services?

    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.

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    Proposed Amtrak cuts could hurt Michigan

    February 10, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
    Filed under: Press Releases 

    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.

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    HELP SAY “YES” FOR MICHIGAN TRAINS !

    February 1, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
    Filed under: Press Releases 

    PRESIDENT SAYS “NO” TO PASSENGER RAIL

    Passenger rail service in the United States is seriously threatened! President Bush has proposed to CUT ALL FUNDING to Amtrak beginning October 1, 2005. The national passenger rail system gives Americans a necessary travel choice to highways and airplanes, and is the ONLY intercity service to many communities without air or intercity bus connections.

    Nationwide rail travel is at record levels this year, increasing 4.3% over last year. Since September 11, 2001, rail travel is gaining national popularity and purpose. Over 25 million passengers rode Amtrak last year.

    Michigan rail ridership has been steadily increasing at double-digit percentages over the past two years. (See chart) The State of Michigan supports passenger rail service with funding for the Pere Marquette and Blue Water trains, but these trains and the Pontiac-Chicago Wolverine service will end unless Congress acts to save and expand the federal support of Amtrak.

    Contact your elected officials and let them know that you support continued funding of national passenger rail. Include a personal story about why Amtrak is important to you, if possible. See contact information below.

    Call, fax or email your elected officials (postal letters are subject to long security delays). Include the President, Congressional representatives, State leaders and your local mayor and/ or councilpersons in your correspondence.

    The President: ph. (202) 456-1111, fax (202) 456-2461, email president@whitehouse.gov
    U.S. Senate/House switchboard: (202) 224-3121 or go to www.senate.gov, www.house.gov
    The Governor: (517) 373-3400
    Michigan Senate switchboard: (517) 373-2400, or go to www.senate.michigan.gov
    Michigan House switchboard: (517) 373-0135, or go to house.michigan.gov