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Officials say A2TC train project is back on track

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COVID-19 delayed work on a rail between Ann Arbor and Traverse City, but now the project is back on track. Literally.

A railway between Ann Arbor and Traverse City would allow tourists, students and almost anyone to travel easily between the cities. Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, based in Traverse City, is running the project.

 

Transportation Program Manager for Groundwork Center, Carolyn Ulstad, said a train would help increase tourism across the state.

 

“We had a feasibility and ridership study created, and that was produced in 2018, and some things that we found from that study, one in particular showed that there’s about six million visitors a year that make their way up to Northern Michigan, and about half of those are from the Detroit region,” Ulstad said.

 

According to Ulstad, projections from Groundwork's study show that the number of tourists could double by 2040.

 

Along with the impact on tourism, the connecting railway would make it easier for college students to travel to and from campus.

 

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Photo courtesy of Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities.

According to a map of the railway, Mt. Pleasant sits at the halfway point of the trip.

 

Mayor of the City of Mt. Pleasant, Will Joseph, said the railway would have a big influence on the city by increasing foot traffic for local businesses. But, it would be especially impactful for students at Central Michigan University.

"More of our focus has also been on how that impacts potential new students, or current students," Joseph said. "A lot of students come to school, especially that first year maybe with no car, and so this would allow people to get to Mt. Pleasant in another way that is, I think, reasonably affordable."

Right now, Groundwork Center is looking into grant opportunities to support the next round of studies, and demonstration train rides are being planned for either spring or summer of 2022.