The Craig Fahle Show

Would You Ride The Ann Arbor-Detroit Commuter Rail?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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Metro Times reporter Ryan Felton joins Craig to discuss his recent article about plans for a potential commuter rail between Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Felton tells Craig that the plan for a commuter rail “has been in works for as long as the M-1 rail,” however, the difference is that there is already some existing infrastructure in place. It’s a matter of working out the logistics in funding. Felton says MDOT is reworking the track, and when that phase is complete, the other details will follow.

The current Amtrak route from Detroit to Ann Arbor takes about an hour, and Felton says the commuter rail is projected to cut that time down to about 40 minutes –roughly the same amount of time it takes to drive. The commuter rail will stop in five locations: Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit Metro Airport, Dearborn, and the Amtrak station in Detroit’s New Center.

“Once the track is reworked through MDOT, they’ll start with three roundtrips in both directions daily to see if it could become a fully operational commuter rail,” says Felton. In other cities like Cleveland, Felton says residents can pay a flat annual fee and ride the commuter rail to many different locations across the entire county.

Plans to break ground on the project are set to begin next month, but the rail won’t be up and running until 2016 at the earliest. While it’s difficult to guarantee anything yet, Felton says this could “be the system to finally create that connectivity here that we’ve been talking about for decades.”

--Annamarie Sysling