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Press Releases

Train Riders Rally to “Stop The Great Train Robbery”

Sep 11, 2009

Please include in local announcements and calendars.

On Saturday, September 12, there will be a press conference and rally to call attention to state budget cuts that threaten the passenger trains serving the Flint and mid-Michigan area.

The rally will take place at the Flint Amtrak train station beginning at 6:40 am and continuing until train departure at 7:11 am.

 The rally is being organized by the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP) and Save Our Trains Michigan. Both organizations are non-profit, volunteer groups that advocate for improved and expanded intercity passenger train service in Michigan.

On June 11, the Michigan Senate voted to drastically cut funding for the two state supported passenger train routes. The House of Representatives partially restored funding, but the amount falls far short of the amount needed to assure continued operation of the trains. Failure to restore funds will result in the loss of train services along the Port Huron to Chicago route or the Grand Rapids to Chicago route – or both.

Organizers are inviting the community to show their support by joining them at the rally. Local leaders and lawmakers have been invited to attend.

Following the rally, organizers will board the train to travel to Kalamazoo. Along the way they will distribute information and talk to fellow passengers about the importance of letting decision makers know that train travel is an option people want.

“We see growing support for intercity passenger trains,” said Tim Fischer who serves as the MARP chair for the mid-Michigan region. “Large increases in passenger numbers over the past several years show us that people are finding trains a convenient and cost-effective travel option in these times of rising gasoline prices, highway congestion, and environmental concerns.”

According to MDOT analysis, ridership on the Blue Water route increased nearly 70% in the period 2003-2008. The route served 136,538 passengers in 2008.

According to an analysis by Amtrak, at the end of FY08, 116 Michigan residents were employed in providing train services in the state. Total wages of Amtrak employees living in Michigan were $7,491,349 during FY08. In addition, Amtrak expended $13,647,481 for goods and services in Michigan in FY08.

For more information on the Michigan Association of Rail Passengers, visit www.marp.org An Amtrak Fact Sheet may be found at www.amtrak.com/pdf/factsheets/MICHIGAN08.pdf ###
Tim Fischer, Michigan Assoc. of Railroad Passengers
tim@environmentalcouncil.org, (734) 255-9206

Matt Marderosian, Save Our Trains Michigan Group
matthewkodi@aol.com, (989) 539-0507
RELATED TOPICS: transportation policy
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