New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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TC Man
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New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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From the Traverse City Record Eagle:

Kalkaska seeks $8.7 million grant for rail, trail and jobs plan
By Sheri Mcwhirter smcwhirter@record-eagle.com 10 hrs ago


Record-Eagle/Mike Krebs


KALKASKA — Village officials applied for a $8.7 million federal transportation grant in an attempt to land a large rail yard and any accompanying jobs and economic development.

And that wouldn’t be all. Not by a mile, or many miles in this case.

The grant proposal submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation would pay for the creation of a sort of master plan for a host of infrastructure improvements, an effort dubbed the Michigan Intermodal Transportation & Tourism Infrastructure Network. The plan would encompass freight and passenger rail from downstate, shipping on the Great Lakes, passenger busing, recreational trails and even an energy transportation alternative to the controversial Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

That’s a lot of miles and a host of modes of transport.

“The whole plan is designed to allow connected communities to build plans off of others,” said Harley Wales, Kalkaska village president.

“It’s kind of a master plan for economic growth for all of northern Michigan,” he said.

The plan would call for a truck-to-train transfer yard in the Kalkaska area, along with an extended route to take freight further north to a possible new shipping yard in Sault Ste. Marie to transfer products onto ships navigating the Great Lakes.

Wales said it makes strategic geographic sense to anchor the plan in Kalkaska.

“We’re kind of in the heart of the mitten,” he said.

The plan would also call for the development of storage tanks near St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula, where natural gas and other petrochemical resources could be trucked and then stored in the event that Line 5 is shut down.

There’s also the passenger rail concept that’s long been discussed for northern Michigan. This could be a chance to make use of existing state rail lines to develop that passenger connection to southeast Michigan, said Michael Jantz, business development manager for architectural and infrastructure design firm C2AE.


He said the first parts of the plan likely to take shape would be the rail yard in Kalkaska and the shipping component in the Soo.

“Money ultimately generated from usage of those facilities will help pay for other aspects: passenger rail, passenger buses and recreation trails,” Jantz said.

“The infrastructure we are talking about with the project will attract businesses with high-paying jobs,” he said.

Wales said the village received supportive letters to submit with its grant application from across the political spectrum: Republicans Jack Bergman, 1st District U.S. congressman, Wayne Schmidt, 37th District state senator, and Lee Chatfield, speaker of the state House are supportive of the grant application, as is Democratic U.S. Sen. Gary Peters. Nearby villages and economic development groups also joined the bandwagon.

“We strongly believe that this grant, through updating Kalkaska’s infrastructure, will support the growth of healthy, resilient, thriving economies not only in Kalkaska, but throughout our entire region,” said David Mengebier, president and chief executive officer for the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation.

This sort of project could make lasting impacts for generations to come, he said.

Jantz said the village’s grant application has a few things going for it, as well. It would be for intermodal transportation in a rural area that is considered economically depressed, he said.

“It ticks a lot of boxes,” Jantz said. “And with the regional support, I think there’s a strong chance of receiving the grant money.”

Those awarded grants in this year’s cycle of the federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Discretionary Grants program will be announced Sept. 15.

The grant would provide complete funding without a matching portion required, if approved by federal officials.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao recently said BUILD grants are intended to upgrade infrastructure across America, making transportation systems safer and more efficient.

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Kalkaska Grant Economic Development Economics Official Job Attempt Plan Commercial Law Proposal Transports Petrochemistry Passenger Pipeline Harley Wales Rail Kalkaska Area Michael Jantz Railway Highway Freight Program


Sheri McWhirter

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AARR
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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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I could see adding a few yard tracks to stage tank cars for the gas plant south of town
PatC created a monster, 'cause nobody wants to see Don Simon no more they want AARR I'm chopped liver, well if you want AARR this is what I'll give ya, bad humor mixed with irrelevant info that'll make you roll your eyes quicker than a ~Z~ banhammer...

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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HUH?

It's great that they're looking for economic opportunity but...
In order for their rail yard to even have a slight chance of happening, it's going to require cooperation with near and far communities.
Something that simply doesn't happen in Michigan.

Super Chief
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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

Unread post by Super Chief »

Related to this is the new bridge over the Manistee River still a work in progress by MDOT? No cutbacks to the budget due to COVID and gas tax revenue have held it up? I ask because there have been no updates about it lately?

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

Unread post by Raildudes dad »

This is the only group to make out on this - a consultant.
"Michael Jantz, business development manager for architectural and infrastructure design firm C2AE."

Steve B
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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

Unread post by Steve B »

A more accurate thread title would be "New rail yard hoped for in Kalkaska."

DaveO
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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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Hopefully they will use their favorite search engine and search for "railroad yard closing".
While they're at it, they might as well search for "Project Tim".

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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Possibly if Clare's PolyPavilion is operating at capacity they might be looking for another transload location.

But like I said earlier if the gas plant south of Kalkaska increased shipments (last I heard they averaged 10-15 per week) I could see a few extra yard tracks needed for staging empty tank cars.
PatC created a monster, 'cause nobody wants to see Don Simon no more they want AARR I'm chopped liver, well if you want AARR this is what I'll give ya, bad humor mixed with irrelevant info that'll make you roll your eyes quicker than a ~Z~ banhammer...

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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Whoa a lot of big dreams in that thing.

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

Unread post by fmilhaupt »

I see that they've trotted out the old "passenger service from SE Michigan" idea again.

Gee, has it been sixteen months, already?
-Fritz Milhaupt

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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It needs to read "train to truck transfer" if it is to go to the Soo, since I crossec the Big Mac last week and saw no rail across the Straits.

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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It would also help to know how many other localities are competing for this money.

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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Steve B
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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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Raildudes dad wrote:Here's the 2019 list.
https://www.transportation.gov/sites/do ... et2019.pdf
Thanks!

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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There is a style of speaking where you say grand things but with minimal detail. There is a term for it that escapes me. With minimal detail and catchy sound bites the listener can hear what they want to hear. Multiple different meanings to be communicated gaining broad appeal.

There is something for everyone in there. Trails and an alternative to the Line 5 pipeline for environmentalists. Passenger rail, busses, high paying jobs. The U.P. gets a slice with shipping from the Soo. Why it even pays for itself..."Money ultimately generated from usage of those facilities will help pay for other aspects". Gosh who could argue with all that.

I wonder how much of the $8.7 will go to further studies...

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Michael
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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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PatAzo wrote:I wonder how much of the $8.7 will go to further studies...

We should do a study on to find out :)

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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Michael wrote:
PatAzo wrote:I wonder how much of the $8.7 will go to further studies...

We should do a study on to find out :)
You guys are all too negative. It's fully funded, and a done deal. What they did NOT say in the news is this is an HO scale layout adding a big yard due to a sale on Atlas switches on Amazon.com. Total cost $8.7M breaks down to $8.6M cost of study, and rest for the Amazon order. :twisted:

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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I'm not negative. I just question who is going to ship freight north by rail to Kalkaska, put it on a truck, send it to Sault St Marie to be loaded on a ship to go...back south. Even then if it would go by ship why not build a dock on Lake Michigan and ship from there. As much as the installation method of the Line 5 pipeline concerns me transloading and trucking petroleum isn't without it's own risks. I'm curious what "high paying" industry is going to go that far north. Not automotive, tech or health care.

But the federal government is going to waste money on pork barrel projects somewhere so why not Kalkaska.

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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Sounds interesting. At least we can all be thankful that they're trying to push for more rail traffic. A new yard along with the oil service tracks could see a better transload for the plastic pellets also. Maybe Frac sand too or natural gas? Getting rid of a potentially hazardous pipeline I'm all for but I don't think the profit is going to be there. That's a lot of trucks on the road and the drivers aren't paid minimum wages and new trucks aren't cheap either. What would the local communities think of all the added traffic? More heavy trucks on the Mighty Mac could cause more unneeded stresses on it. How much does the line pump and how many trucks or train cars does that amount to per day? Lots of info is missing. The passenger rail is kind of kicking a dead horse as it will never happen. GLC and others still seem to be committed to it though but the ridership is lacking and the bus would be much cheaper and faster. Forget it- just think of all the money you'll save by not paying for all these absurd studies.
U.S.Army Retired- under new management (see wife)

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Re: New rail yard coming to Kalkaska on the GLC

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MIGN-Todd wrote:Sounds interesting. At least we can all be thankful that they're trying to push for more rail traffic. A new yard along with the oil service tracks could see a better transload for the plastic pellets also. Maybe Frac sand too or natural gas? Getting rid of a potentially hazardous pipeline I'm all for but I don't think the profit is going to be there. That's a lot of trucks on the road and the drivers aren't paid minimum wages and new trucks aren't cheap either. What would the local communities think of all the added traffic? More heavy trucks on the Mighty Mac could cause more unneeded stresses on it. How much does the line pump and how many trucks or train cars does that amount to per day? Lots of info is missing. The passenger rail is kind of kicking a dead horse as it will never happen. GLC and others still seem to be committed to it though but the ridership is lacking and the bus would be much cheaper and faster. Forget it- just think of all the money you'll save by not paying for all these absurd studies.
You guys realize I was being sarcastic (hence the HO scale yard comments). I realize this will never happen. THOUGH, think about this. Make a sufficiently sized transload/storage/staging yard in Kalkaska near the crossroads of US-131 (straight highway north to Petoskey and I-75 to Canada) and M-72 (west to TC and east to Grayling). Rail all current TC and Petoskey traffic to the new yard. Transload and truck to/from TC and to/from Petoskey). Even try to snag some LSRC customers via transload. Then you don't need the entire TC branches, and the line to Petoskey (though maybe keep to Elmira as I imagine cement is a pain to transload).

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