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Modern Michigan high speed rail: First in series of public forums Monday in Royal Oak

Jun 10, 2010
The first in a statewide slate of public forums on Michigan’s passenger rail transportation future will take place Monday, June 14 in Royal Oak from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Woodward Ave. at 11 Mile Road.

Residents are encouraged to voice their opinions on how to best upgrade passenger and freight rail service in Michigan to create a more convenient, efficient system. Attendees include State Rep. Marie Donigan, Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison, and staff from U.S. Congressman Gary Peters’ office. Sponsors of the forum are the Michigan Environmental Council, the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers and the Michigan Suburbs Alliance.

“Recent federal support has put Michigan in a great position to build a modern rail transit system that is clean, fast and convenient,” said John DeLora of the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers. “We want residents to shape that vision and discuss how best to meet big challenges like funding for such a rail network.”

Investments in state-of-the-art passenger rail can help speed the way toward a new, robust economic model for the state that will also soften our environmental footprint.

“High speed rail is about much more than just tracks, trains, and trip times,” said Tim Fischer of the Michigan Environmental Council. “It’s also about creating thousands of green construction and manufacturing jobs that can help drive a new, clean-energy economy.”

Fischer said a modern rail system can revitalize urban centers, reduce freeway and airport congestion, and boost the use of urban public transit while reducing air pollution and carbon emissions in the process.

Each forum will include an overview of the existing rail system, an interactive rail mapping session, discussion of financing options and a big picture vision for a modern Michigan high speed rail system.

Forums later this summer are being planned for cities including Traverse City, Grand Rapids, New Buffalo, Lansing, Jackson, Holland, Detroit, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph/Benton Harbor and Ann Arbor.
RELATED TOPICS: land use, transportation policy
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