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Posted on Mon, May 9, 2011 : 7:12 a.m.

$2.8M for new train & bus station in Ann Arbor expected in today's high-speed rail announcement

By Paula Gardner

Updated news from today's announcement.

The federal transportation announcement that will be made this afternoon in Detroit will include $2.8 million in funding for a new train and bus station in Ann Arbor, sources told the Detroit News.

The news comes after officials announced Friday that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and several Michigan officials would gather in Detroit to make a 'major announcement' regarding high-speed rail in Metro Detroit.


Angela J. Cesere |

Michigan is expected to get about $200 million for high-speed rail today, including $196.5 million to improve Amtrak rail from Kalamazoo to Detroit.

The award also includes $2.8 million toward the cost of a $3.5 million train and bus station in Ann Arbor, according to the Detroit News. It will be used by Amtrak, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and the University of Michigan.

City officials and U-M have pursued a new multimodal transit hub on Fuller Road, adjacent to the University of Michigan Hospitals.

A parking deck is planned for the first phase of the effort, but city officials have said the vision focused on turning the area into a transportation gateway for Ann Arbor.

The 977-space parking structure is projected to cost $43 million, with U-M paying 78 percent of that.

Meanwhile, AATA already is improving its downtown Blake Transit Center with federal funds, after receiving a $1 million grant last fall.



Mon, May 9, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

@Deb- The city is not building a parking structure for UM, the university is paying 78% of the cost.

George Gaston

Tue, May 10, 2011 : 1:59 a.m.

The city and the university are both involved in this proposed project. The university is willing to fund 78% of this structure for 78% of its use. The city is proposing to bring to the table an Ann Arbor public park as the devlopment site. A sale of the park would require a public vote. Elections generate questions. There will be no sale of city park land required for the erection of this parking structure. If this is such a good idea, please show me how this proposed use, without sale, of a public park compares to the value of such a transaction were it to take place on the open market. Location, location, location; I suspect that this property has value and could generate a lot of money for our city park system, if that's what we want to do with our Ann Arbor city parks.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

This is a joke. It is a waste of tax payer money. If the U wants a new parking structure they should pay for it. Looking at the plan, how many parking spots the U gets, and how many parking spots are available at the old train station shows why. The city will only acquire about 50 additional spots then the currently available amount at the train station. Now they want to add a bus terminal to the same station, that should eat up the additional spot allotment pretty fast. This is nothing more then a parking deck built for the U. As for a new rail (so trains can pass), couldn't we add one to where the station already is? Could we not look at making that station bigger? There is no reason for the city to build 700+ parking spots for the U. They have there own money and with 26,000 visitors a day, i am sure they can afford it. Why are these projects combined, other then to give the U land to build a large parking structure for the hospital? If we really want a new "terminal", tear down the old one, and build it in that spot, or another place where the city (and apparently national) taxpayers aren't subsidizing a parking lot for the U.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

Rode the train from Ann Arbor to Chicago, the problem wasn't the ride from A2 to Kzoo but Kzoo to Chicago. There were issues with Amtrak not owning the rails and we had to give way to freight trains that made our trip 1 hour late. And we will probably lose the free parking for the train that we have now and have to pay a parking fee in the new lot.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

I don't think so about high-speed rail in Washtenaw County (between Ypsilanti to Chelsea). There are up grades, many curves, railroad bed ground soils are soft from Huron River and ponds AND big problem – the people walk trespasses on railroad. Washtenaw County Commission and Norfolk Southern Railway (NS has control than Amtrak) preferred still restrict speed limits 35 to 60 mph, not 110 mph. They're cannot change progress, still old fashions. But third station will be new building at UM property, of course.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Plenty of people will use the train to get between Detroit and Chicago and all points in between. Its not like one has to be Nostradamus to see where the long term trend in fuel prices is heading. I love watching people kicking and screaming as they get dragged into the late twentieth century - especially since it is 2011.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

we only gain about parking spots compared to the old train station. what does this help us. a high speed rail dosnet rely on what terminals it stops at. Refurbish the old station


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Maybe someone who knows details can help me here. The average cost of a parking structure in the US is about $50/sq ft (<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. If I assume 977 spaces at a generous 150 sq ft each and assume that only one fourth of the structure is actually parking (although I think it should be a bit more) then this thing is costing almost double what it should. Anyone?


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got Till it's gone They paved paradise And put up a parking lot


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

According to the Detroit News, the award is for an &quot;engineering and environmental analysis to construct a new high-speed rail station in Ann Arbor...&quot;. If the $2.8 million is just for the engineering plans, where is the money coming from to actually build the train station? Without future federal awards which are not guaranteed at this point, all we will have are some expensive blue prints. Building a parking structure prior to the outcome of this analysis and identification of all future funding sources for building the train station would be very presumptious and fiscally reckless at this time.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

With $2.8 million worth of engineering plans, there should be sufficient material to build a paper-mache train station (we recycle, don't we?). Forget the environmental anaylsis and the lack of guaranteed future federal awards. Take the Admiral David Farragut approach: &quot;D*** the torpedoes, full speed ahead!&quot;


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Just think of all the hungry children that could be fed with this money, or Homeless people that could be given shelter or Art work bought or commissioned instead we are spending money on a transportation facility that will bring visitors here and increase commerce! This will lead to more jobs, more tax revenues, more business and a population increase.

Joslyn at the U

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

Nothing like wasting more tax money. Nothing new here.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

I am happy that we will be improving our mass transportation. The more and better mass transit, the less need for cars in the future. The number of train passengers, on this route (and nationwide), has been increasing over the last several years. Mass transit is more ecologically sound overall than cars or airplanes. Improving Amtrak service would also improve employment opportunities here in Michigan, which is badly needed. I am also very glad that AATA and U of M buses will be included in this hub.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

There is no plan in place to actually build the transit part. it is mearly a 700 spot structure for the U disguised as a potential transport hub in the future


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

$43 million for 977 parking spaces. That is $44,012 per parking space!!! One can get a house for that amount in Ann Arbor. I smell something fishy here! Can somebody justify this cost?


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

I think the going rate for parking spaces in structures is at least $25,000 per spot. And, all the people that complain that AATA is subsidized, sort of ignore the fact that all the parking structures are also subsidized.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

Condos in ann arbor sell for 44K and under. Shop around, you will be surprised!


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

What kind of house are you going to buy in Ann Arbor for $44K? I would love to know, I'll go buy it right now.

Tom Whitaker

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

Come on people, get a clue. A 977-space parking structure has nothing to do with rail or bus transportation. UM could put their parking structure at Ann and Zina Pitcher, where they just torn down the Kresge research buildings. This would put it right where it needs to be--in the center of the medical campus. Train station, fine. Parking structure, no.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

gamma, except the city will only have about 200 spots, about 50 more then the train station has right now


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:45 p.m.

Although some people will take the buses to the train station, there will still be a need for longer term parking for people who drive to the station and for people who drop off and pick up others.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 12:44 p.m.

Come on people get a clue. No parks are being destroyed for this plan. The land in question is across the street from Fuller pool. It is adjacent to and includes an existing parking lot.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

Its not about the park, its about the subsidization of a U parking structure with the carrot of a train station tied to the end of a rope. A train station which in no way is guaranteed to ever materialize.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

I haven't taken sides on this, but I know it's not as simple as you say. When I was growing up in Ann Arbor, that land was a municipal golf course. Currently, it is park land. The parking lot is on park land. People play soccer in the adjacent land and soccer nets are placed there. Park land being used for recreation seems like a park. I think the problem people have is that they don't feel protocol was followed. In this case, protocol may be a waste of time. A vote would probably lead to the same result. But, can you skip protocol on a whim. The danger is in its precedent.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

Ann Arbor is overflowing with parks. If this creates a better environment for public transportation into and around Ann Arbor, good thing. One less park is one less thing my taxes have to maintain.


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

No it creates a parking lot for the U, look at the numbers. We gain about 50 + spots then we had at the train station and add a bus terminal. I am not sure, but who will maintain the parking structure? the U or the city. If the costs are split, I would be willing to guess the cost of maintaining the structure will be more then the cost was to maintain the original space


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

There will be income coming in to maintain the structure unless free parking is provided. If your are worried about cars driving on the streets and wearing them down, maybe we should get rid of all the cars. Then the prescious streets will stay pristine. blahblahblahblahblahblah


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

Parking structures have maintenance/replacement costs as well. The hundreds of extra cars using the streets around this new parking structure will wear out the roads faster and require additional road maintenance/replacement costs. These costs to the taxpayer will be far greater than maintaining the existing park/surface lot.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

In America, land that is a park is basically 'land-in-waiting' for development, especially in Ann Arbor. I for one am SO happy that we'll get a better transit center, rail station, and high speed rail going from Ann Arbor to Chicago! No more 6-8 hour train rides and sloppy, ugly stations. This is great news for our generation and I have no problem sacrificing a park (or two) to make this a reality.

Jim Heinold

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 12:23 p.m.

$43 million for parking spaces...only in America!


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:39 p.m.

&quot; At least folks will be parking their cars, instead driving them through our neighborhoods!!! How exactly are all these out of town UM commuters going to get to this new parking structure in the middle of town? By driving through our neighborhoods to get there!!!


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

Considering what it takes to make sure 100 cars don't come crashing down on the cars/people below them. And, what goes into making sure that storm water runs off properly without creating a flood. Also, the cutting and filling that needs to happen when building a parking lot/structure. I would say $43M sounds about right. It does only cost a few hundred grand to build a small house that can only hold 2 cars and a few people...

Wolf's Bane

Mon, May 9, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

At least folks will be parking their cars, instead driving them through our neighborhoods!!!


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

Oh, goodie, we tear down a park and put in a parking lot!


Mon, May 9, 2011 : 11:34 a.m.

That piece of property has already been used as a U of M parking lot for many years, so Phase I is not a change in use- it's more of an increase in capacity, really.