When the people of Michigan were asked where they would like to travel by rail, their answers hit close to home. Well, relatively close. Many wanted to take the train to the northern edge of the state to places like Traverse City.
The Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities ran the survey a few years ago and recently the search has been for a track that would reach northern Michigan. Great Lakes Central Railroad owns a track that runs from Ann Arbor to Traverse City. The Michigan Department of Transportation recently repaired some bad sections on and around the track en route to Traverse City, and now officials are about to embark on environmental and engineering studies on the rail line.
Passenger trains, like those taking fall color tours, between Ann Arbor and Traverse City could generate 1.5 million riders and $100 million annually by 2040. For a town like Cadillac, Mich., which is planning on having a station on the route, a passenger rail line could produce $250 million worth of property development, and income improvement over the next 30 years could be $112.5 million.
The goal is to have high-speed rail on the line, but when passenger trains first hit the route the speed will most likely be 60 mph.
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