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    Apr 21, 2008

    Regional transit to be explored

    It looks like Western Michigan is going to look at regional transit. The West Michigan Transit Study Technical Committee is set to look at the issue. The study is due sometime in 2009.

    This development comes from a push to connect the lake shore and city. Area leaders envision buses linking the region.

    It seems a part of the regional vision is missing something though. There is already a link between Holland and Downtown -- Amtrak. Here's where this might get interesting. Amtrak, runs intercity service between GR and Chitown with stops in between. Holland and all rest of the Southwest suburbs are down line from the city. The service is in no shape to provide commuter services. The trains are too few and too late. Obviously, this impedes its effectiveness as a transit option.
    However ....

    There's service to build on, that's the important aspect. Many people already rely on it, which has developed a customer base to expand off of. So why not investigate the feasibility of upgrading CSX's infrastructure that could allow for more capacity? This may mean more passing sidings for Amtrak equipment to bypass the freight operations on CSX's lines. The foundation is there and working. A West Michigan Rail Transit Authority could be created to plan and oversee. This regional authority could contract operations out to Amtrak while re-branding the expanded service as a local option for commuting. Funding can come from MDOT, an existing backer. Communities where stations are to be located can pitch in as well.

    Comment on this post, or send mail to: railtransitgr@gmail.com

    Meet me in GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.

    1 comment:

    Phil said...

    Hello Mr. McManus, I followed the link from Chris Knapes blog and founds yours. I must say you have done a pretty good job from what I have seen. I have a question for you though. How likely do you think it is that the currently proposed streetcar system for downtown is passed? I think that would be a great transportation option for not only downtown, but for the entire city.