Environment Picture
Topic: Transportation Policy

Michigan high speed rail: Robust public session set for Detroit Thursday

Forum will address $160 million in federal rail grants awarded to Michigan this week
A public forum on Michigan’s passenger rail transportation future will take place Thursday, October 28 in Detroit from 6 to 8 p.m. at The MSU Detroit Center, located at 3408 Woodward, Detroit, MI.

State Senators Martha G. Scott and Tupac A. Hunter and State Representatives LaMar Lemmons, Jr. and Ed Clemente will join citizens for a robust discussion. 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.

The Detroit forum is sponsored by the Michigan Environmental Council, the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, Transportation for America and the Michigan Municipal League as well as other economic development and civic groups, governments and unions.

The forum will address this week’s announcement of $160 million in federal high speed rail grants awarded to Michigan, including $8 million to connect the Chicago-Detroit high speed line to the Detroit New Center Station.

The session is part of a series of 16 throughout the state designed to engage citizens on a vision for the future. Citizen ideas will be forwarded to state and federal policymakers.

“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 Langdon 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.”

A modern rail system is one tool to revitalize urban centers, reduce freeway and airport congestion, and boost the use of public transit while reducing air pollution and carbon emissions in the process.

Each forum includes 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 have drawn hundreds of citizens and civic leaders in venues including Monroe, Flint, Grand Rapids, Royal Oak, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Traverse City, New Buffalo, St. Joseph, Holland, Dearborn and Jackson. Others are planned for cities including Muskegon, Kalamazoo, and Ann Arbor. See www.michiganbyrail.org for more details.

Partners for the Detroit forum include the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Transportation Union, Get Michigan Moving, Transportation Riders United, East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Michigan State University Detroit Center, Detroit Regional Chamber, 12th Precinct Neighborhood Coalition, and SEMCOG. ###
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