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You get the sense when talking with the 22-year-old Central Michigan University (CMU) senior that the rhythm of the rails hums through his veins. Vriesman, a native of Grand Haven, MI, says he’s excited about passenger rail that will one day connect Mt. Pleasant with Ann Arbor to the southeast and with Traverse City and Petoskey to the northwest.

“For me as a student, passenger rail through Mt. Pleasant would give me transportation alternatives both for recreation and professional,” said Vriesman. “As I enter my senior year, I’m looking at career opportunities, and many of those are in the Detroit and Ann Arbor area.”

The passenger rail project, initiated by Groundwork, will run from the population centers of southeast Michigan to the emerging economies in the northwest, passing through towns like Howell, Durand, Owosso, Alma, Mt. Pleasant and Cadillac. The route travels through thriving downtowns that include growing businesses, tech sectors, and colleges that are collectively home to 90,000 students that attend the University of Michigan, Baker College, Northwestern Michigan College, Alma College and Central Michigan University. The line would also intersect Amtrak’s Blue Water and Wolverine lines, which could connect passengers to larger metro areas like Lansing, Detroit, and Chicago.

“For me as a student, passenger rail through Mt. Pleasant would give me transportation alternatives both for recreation and professional.” – Andrew Vriesman, CMU College Student

Vriesman studies logistics and marketing at CMU and hopes to land a job in southeast Michigan next year. He would travel to upcoming job interviews via train if he could. Passenger rail through Mt. Pleasant would also make it easier for many college students to travel home during semester breaks or visit friends in Ann Arbor or Traverse City. Train service would be a major boost for Central Michigan, for Mt. Pleasant, and for the state as a whole.

“If I can pay less for a train ticket to get to Ann Arbor or up to Traverse City, I’d rather do that than buy gas,” said Vriesman. “I’ve got friends in TC, friends in Ann Arbor. Getting on the train and going down to see them would be much easier than getting in my car and driving.”

Read More about Vriesman at Groundwork Center.

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