City hears presentation for passenger train
By 2024, Mount Pleasant could be a stop along the way of a passenger train that runs from Ann Arbor to Traverse City.
On Nov. 23, a representative from Groundwork, which focuses on developing communities' long-term economic resilience, presented the idea to community members at City Hall. Jim Bruckbauer told residents the idea is to connect communities in Southeast Michigan, like Detroit and Ann Arbor, to more northern cities.
Bruckbauer has been reaching out to communities the train would pass through to gauge resident interest. The train tracks are already in place and are owned by the state, he said.
"The train would allow (people) to go to Ann Arbor, jump on a train, be taken to Traverse City and hopefully stop at the other communities along the way," Bruckbauer said.
College students have expressed interest in the train, which would pass through Ann Arbor, Alma and Mount Pleasant. Bruckbauer said it would be a benefit for students who routinely travel home. He hopes the CMU would play a large role, and said he has talked to College of Business Administration Dean Charles Crespy about students completing an economic analysis of the project.
Alma Mayor Melvin Nyman said the train is an important project for Michigan.
"It would go right through Alma," he said. "It's an obvious place to load up students and send them in either direction. They wouldn't have to bring a car (to school)."
The first step of the project, Bruckbauer said, is to complete a feasibility study that would answer the logistical questions residents had during his presentation. As far as Bruckbauer knows, most of the project would be paid for through federal grants set aside for transportation. The study would cost $120,000.
Bruckbauer is looking for communities to match funds and cover other costs between cities the train would pass through.