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Ann Arbor to Traverse City rail proposal takes next step

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Amtrak train

A funding plan to study the Ann Arbor to Traverse City rail concept is headed to the governor’s desk.

The funding proposal for a Phase 2 study of the rail project was included in the budget surplus recommendations passed by the House and Senate in Michigan.

If the monies are approved, it would fund an in-depth study into how the completed rail link between Ann Arbor and Traverse City would operate.

Hearing the news, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce’s executive vice president said he wasn’t holding his breath that the rail line would be around any time soon.

But Andy LaBarre says if it comes, it would have a large economic impact on the area.

“Both communities would see immediate and long-term benefits from. It would likely be very good for hotels and lodging, light retail, you know, all those sorts of businesses that can be community foundations.”

Should things move along, LaBarre says he wouldn’t expect to see the rail service for the next few years.

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Cathy Shafran is WEMU's afternoon news anchor and local host during WEMU's broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.
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