July 23, 2012

Mich. State partners to renovate Amtrak station

Michigan State University (MSU), the Capital Area Transportation Authority and the city of East Lansing will use a $6.28 million grant to renovate the East Lansing Amtrak Station.

The funding will be used for the Capital Area Multi-modal Gateway Project, which will serve as the transportation gateway to Michigan's capital city region. The project’s total estimated cost comes to $9.48 million, with a local match from MSU via a long-term land lease of the property, valued at $3.2 million.

“This station provides a vital link for thousands of students and local commuters who pass through here every day to board a bus, hop a bike or take a train,” said Robert Rivkin, general counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “This is a great win for the Greater Lansing region, bringing an essential facility into the modern age, making it accessible for people with disabilities, improving safety for pedestrians and, above all, restoring a measure of civic pride to all who pass through here.”

The project was approved by the Federal Transit Administration for fiscal year 2012 Bus and Bus Facilities Program Livability Initiative funds. It provides excellent connectivity to the interstate, the regional transportation network, and bike and pedestrian pathways. It will help transition the regionally significant Trowbridge Road Commercial Corridor to one of the nation's leading research universities.

“This project will provide the infrastructure necessary to create a vibrant community with jobs, improved housing and an enhanced multi-modal transportation system,” said Sandy Draggoo, CATA CEO/executive director. “These are long-awaited upgrades for the station. This is very good news for CATA, MSU and the City of East Lansing.”

The facility will be a tremendous benefit for MSU, said Fred Poston, MSU VP, finance and operations.

“Student use of mass transit is at an all-time high, as evidenced by the fact that this station and this line is the fastest growing in Michigan,” he said. “In addition, it’s particularly important that the MSU community have good connections to both Detroit and Chicago, something this enhanced facility will provide.”

As part of the project, current service will be expanded by the addition of Michigan Flyer service, increasing the number of routes between East Lansing and Detroit. In addition, CATA has negotiated with Megabus for service between Chicago and Detroit, and stops in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Ann Arbor. These new services will enhance the region's transportation options.

Other project objectives include:

  • Access to Amtrak’s Blue Water Line, connecting East Lansing with Port Huron, Chicago and high-speed rail between Detroit and Chicago.
  • Barrier-free, accessible facility and level boarding to meet ADA requirements.
  • Improved transfers between intercity and local bus services, and increased accommodation for taxi, rental car and bike-sharing services.
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