Amtrak station to be renovated
A renovated East Lansing Amtrack Station is shown in this computer rendering graphic. The cost of the project is estimated at $6.3 million. Courtesy of Capital Area Transportation Authority
When Go Takei heads to the East Lansing Amtrak station next week to go to Chicago, he’ll have a friend drop him off at 1240 S. Harrison Road and he’ll wait at the small station’s platform for his train.
Fast forward a few years and Takei will wait for a Chicago-bound train in a completely renovated new facility.
The East Lansing Amtrak station will receive a major face lift thanks to a $6.28 million federal grant for the Capital Area Multi-modal Gateway Project.
The Capital Area Transportation Authority, or CATA, in partnership with the city of East Lansing and MSU announced the grant and project in a press conference Monday morning. U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., announced the grant in a press release Friday.
“People who work there are nice and resourceful … the location is good,” Takei said. “(But) people use it because people have to.”
Takei, a communication senior, said he is excited for the new facility and thinks upgrades such as the new 140 parking spaces will encourage more people to use the train station.
The upgraded station will include high-speed rail between Detroit and Chicago and service to Port Huron, Mich., enhanced safety features, improved accessibility for other modes of transportation and more.
Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett said during Monday’s press conference that ridership already has increased 200 percent since 2003. In a later interview he said the current station has served its purpose and the project will benefit more than just the average Amtrak users.
“There’s going to be spin-offs from it in terms of plans and projects that we’ll be looking at for years to come,” Triplett said. “And that’s a good thing for East Lansing.”
The grant is the result of the sixth attempt to receive approval from the Federal Transit Administration for the fiscal year 2012 Bus and Bus Facilities Program Livability Initiative funds, according to the CATA press release. The total cost will be $10.48 million, with matches of $500,000 each from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Amtrak. MSU is contributing a land lease of $3.2 million-valued property.
U.S. Department of Transportation General Counsel Robert Rivkin said this is part of $46.7 million of funding that was awarded to this project as well as six others in Michigan through the Federal Transit Administration.
“The money could be used in better areas,” elementary education senior Louis Armbrecht said. “The only upgrade I think Amtrak needs is high speed rail.”
“This station and this line is the fastest growing in Michigan,” said Fred Poston, MSU vice president and treasurer for finance and operations. “This facility will be a tremendous benefit for MSU.”