Transportation & Community Design

Ann Arbor to Traverse City Passenger Rail Project

Broad support from the community and funders has allowed us to press for passenger rail between North and South Michigan. Rail will achieve energy-efficient, safe travel, and economic development in communities along the route. Photo: Holland Sentinel


Frequently Asked Questions

Where did the idea for a passenger rail from Ann Arbor to Traverse City come from?

Surveys of people in Lower Michigan and opinions expressed by northwest Michigan citizens in the Grand Vision community planning process revealed that the No. 1 transportation infrastructure addition Michiganders wanted was passenger rail service to Traverse City.

Would a passenger train be profitable?

Based on an economic study by the rail consulting firm Transportation Economics & Systems, the system has the potential to be profitable based on conservative ridership forecasts.

Wouldn’t a passenger train bring too many people to Traverse City?

Forecasts used to evaluate the profitability of passenger rail are based on projections for growth in tourism arriving in automobiles and jets. We anticipate that some of that travel could shift to passenger rail, helping slow the growth in automobile traffic.

Can you share some of the basics, like when would service begin, how long would the ride from Ann Arbor to TC take, expected ticket price?

With track repairs completed in 2019, passenger rail service remains on schedule for limited service to begin in 2025. Special intermittent excursion trains could begin sooner. If funds become available longer term for high-speed rail, the trip could be reduced to about 3.5 hours. Ticket prices have yet to be determined, but they are expected to be in line with ticket prices elsewhere.

Who is the main contact for questions about the passenger rail program?

Please contact Carolyn Ulstad Transportation Program Manager.

Take Action!

  • Contact your state and federal elected representatives and let them know you support the proposed passenger rail.
  • If your community is on the rail line, work with local officials to build support for the train.
  • Engagement in public meetings to share thoughts and help maximize the beneifts of passenger rail in your community.
  • Please contact Carolyn Ulstad Transportation Program Manager.

“Since I arrived in this region 12 years ago it seems like Groundwork has been at the table for every meaningful land use and transportation conversation. Groundwork brings a steady and educated voice to the discourse. A project that has meant a great deal to me, the reestablishment of viable freight and passenger rail systems to our region, has been artfully directed by leaders at Groundwork, who are dedicated to multimodal transportation solutions. I’ve never met a group quite like them. Plus they’re a lot of fun and creative people to work with!”

— Kim Pontius, CEO of Traverse Area Association of Realtors (TAAR)


A2TC Passenger Rail Project News

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