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Bringing back passenger rail to Traverse City and Petoskey from Ann Arbor and Detroit is good for Michigan. We can connect Michigan’s growing cities in the south and north while energizing proud cities along the way. Civic and business leaders agree that helping the state to attract the next generation workforce and to create better connections and more transportation options is the critical work of our time.

The steering committee for A2TC includes: Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers.

The Path Forward: A study is now underway to provide the needed business plan and details to take passenger rail from the drawing board to reality. It’s a promising opportunity that the tracks between Ann Arbor and Traverse City are state-owned, they are in good shape, and there’s already tremendous public support – and the support is growing.

The Plan

Passenger rail to Traverse City from Ann Arbor along the state’s existing railroad lines will not only provide more ways for people to get around the state, it will have a major boost the state’s best downtowns. Unfortunately, train service doesn’t just appear out of thin air. It takes a comprehensive effort to align support from a cross-section of local, state, and federal agencies. It requires a technical analysis and long-term capital and operations planning.
The Traverse Rail Plan is supported by a growing coalition of businesses and organizations who are working with state officials on a business plan that will answer many of the early questions. The study provides needed information about the existing railroad corridor, track conditions, potential costs and benefits, ridership, and more. That study is already underway, led by Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities and Bay Area Transportation Authority of Traverse City, Michigan.



Often the most expensive part of a rail project is the cost of buying land and laying new tracks. The state still owns the property and tracks for this route; they are still in place and in good shape.


There’s tremendous public support and enthusiasm passenger rail to Traverse City from Ann Arbor. The number one priority that came out of a statewide rail planning process in 2011 was a passenger connection to Traverse City.



A passenger rail line to northern Michigan was included as a goal in Michigan’s State Rail Plan. The next step is securing real investment to make this plan a reality. 


Supporters of the effort to establish passenger rail to Traverse City/Petoskey from Ann Arbor are from all over the state of Michigan. Support is still growing.
  • Bay Area Transportation Authority
  • Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority  
  • Boyne City Main Street  
  • Boyne Valley Township  
  • City of Alma  
  • City of Mt. Pleasant  
  • City of Petoskey  
  • City of Traverse City
  • Evangeline Township 
  • Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers
  • Michigan Environmental Council
  • State Senator Wayne Schmidt

  • Michigan Representative Gretchen Driskell
  • Michigan Representative Larry Inman  
  • Mt. Pleasant Area Convention & Visitors Bureau  
  • Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau
  • Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Traverse Area Association of REALTORS
  • Traverse City Downtown Development Authority
  • Traverse City Tourism  
  • Traverse CONNECT  
  • United States Senator Gary Peters  
  • Washtenaw Count

Special Thank You to 


In October 2018, Transportation Economics & Management Systems, Inc. (TEMS) released the Rail Ridership Feasibility & Cost Estimate Study. Learn more about the project by watching the preliminary feasibility study video.


During a 2011 statewide rail planning process, communities all over Michigan named Traverse City as the number one destination they would travel to by passenger rail.

Passenger train service along the state’s existing railroad line not only provides another way for travelers to get around, but it will also have a major boost to some of the state’s best downtowns. In fact, studies show that rail provides a major economic boost to the regions around each station.

Join the growing list of supporters! Please sign up for updates and become a champion to move Michigan forward.

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