The Amtrak train station, which was scheduled to be built in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town, was recently not approved for funding. This information came in March when COVID-19 first began disrupting daily life in Michigan.
Originally, the Amtrak train station was coming to Ypsilanti in order to create safer transportation and increase economic prosperity in the community. The talk of progressing transportation in the area has been in the making for several years between Ypsilanti’s Mayor, Beth Bashert, and other city representatives.
The budget set aside for the project was $1.3 millon, however, the grant application failed. According to Mayor Bashert’s May 1 newsletter, the City Manager McMullan explained the following as reasons for the grants rejection in the bullet points below:
“Outdated data was used to show projected ridership. The reason that choice was made for the grant is that, although ridership has dropped in more recent years, staff concluded that larger numbers rather than recent data would be more effective.
AMTRAK was relatively silent on our proposal. According to staff, it was hard to get the letter of support from them, let alone more active support.
CRISI did not feel that we made a case for having a new station/platform 8 miles from another. Again, this is fed by the low level of participation or active support from AMTRAK.
Insufficient political support was given at the Federal level. While both our Senators and our Congresswoman sent strong letters of support, more was needed. This was a missed opportunity by Council and our Community, which to me is a lesson learned. That said, based on the other objections from CRISI, this might or might have been enough to help.”
Mayor Bashert is “deeply disappointed” by the news, but hopeful for future endeavors that may arise regarding the train station.
“While failing to receive a grant is not always fatal to a project, the reasons we were turned down are causing us to ask the question. No decisions have been made yet, Council plans on discussing this on our June 16 meeting,” Bashert said.
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