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& Congress of the United States of America ‘Rouse of Representatives enn. Bis October 14, 2010 ign gan by Rail ‘lo Michigan Environmental Council 119 Pere Marquette Dr, Suite 2A Lansing, Michigan 48912-1270 Tear Michigan hy Rail Attendors: 11am honored o be a host of this Michigan by Rail public forum tonight, and I offer my deepest apologies for not being able to attend in person. However, I would appreciate the ‘opportunity to enter ths letter into the record for ths event, and I certainly wish you the best at ‘your forum tonight, Ihave long supported passenger and freight rail. Passenger ral service isa vital component of a balanced, efficient, and reliable transportation system, and freight rail is moving ‘more goods, more efficiently, than ever before. Itis great to see that Amtrak ridership is up, particularly on the Pere Marquette train from Grand Rapids to Chicago. Recently, I supported Michigan’s application to the Federal Railroad Administration’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rails program. Iam hopeful the increas in federal investment will deerease congestion and provide more consistent Amirak sewvice. In 2008, I secured $3.8 rillion in federal funds to help build a rail spur linking the Amtrak station to The Rapids’ new Central Station, This new Central Station will truly bean intermodal transportation center, combining rail with local, regional, and national bus service. I support public transportation, and. connecting these two stations will promote increased ridership or both the bus and the tain, Rail is vitally important to Michigan and the nation for a host of reasons, and I am hopeful that this Michigan by Rail forum in Grand Rapids will scoessfully layout the argument as to why the investment is worthwhile. [look forward to seeing the reports ofthe forum and the visions for Michigan's rail system that the participants create, Sincerely, Ye) Rt Vernon I Ehlers Member of Congress