Michigan ridership spikes, bringing state subsidy down
The article in the Lansing State Journal is here.
Amtrak riders to save Mich. nearly $1 million
Blue Water Line, used by students, brings in $3.4 million
By Derek Wallbank
Lansing State Journal
EAST LANSING - Record setting ridership on Michigan's three Amtrak lines will save the state almost $1 million, state officials said.
A record 664,284 riders drove ticket revenue up more than 21 percent from Oct. 1, 2005, to Sept. 30, and the state subsidy down to $6.2 million from $7.1 million.
"We attribute this excellent growth to higher gas prices at the pump, and increased marketing efforts on the part of local communities," said Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle.
Operational costs for both the Blue Water Line, which runs from Port Huron, through East Lansing to Chicago, and the Pere Marquette (Grand Rapids to Chicago) are funded in part by state subsidies.
The Blue Water Line, especially popular with Michigan State University students, brought in revenue of $3.4 million.
The Wolverine, which runs from Chicago to Detroit and Pontiac, is not operationally subsidized.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the short term plan for Michigan trains is to work with the state to raise the speed of the trains between Kalamazoo and the Michigan-Indiana border from 79 to 95 miles per hour.
Eventually, Magliari said, Amtrak would like to run trains along the 40-mile stretch at up to 110 miles per hour.
That would make the Great Lakes state home to the first American high speed rail line east of the Allegheny mountains.
Contact Derek Wallbank at 267-1301 or email@example.com.