Michigan Tourism & Transportation Officials Visit Chicago’s Union Station To Promote Direct Travel Via Amtrak

A Delicious Start to the Day for Commuters on May 25, 2005

LANSING, Mich., May 24 /PRNewswire/ — The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), Travel Michigan and Amtrak are partnering with communities along the Pere Marquette and Blue Water passenger rail routes to boost travel to Michigan-area scenic, dining, shopping and special event destinations by Chicago-area residents.

On Wednesday, May 25th, from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., participating tourist bureaus, downtown development associations and chambers of commerce also will distribute free snacks and informational packets to commuters who pass through the Great Hall at Chicago Union Station. These activities (funded by MDOT) are being coordinated by the Flint Mass Transportation Authority, the Flint Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Grand Valley Metro Council. Amtrak is providing exhibit space at Chicago Union Station, which serves more than 100,000 travelers daily.

“Michigan is filled with travel destinations to meet everyone’s tastes and vacation desires,” said George Zimmerman, Senior Vice President of Travel Michigan. “From historical sites, to white water rafting excursions, to fine dining and theater, the choices for our Chicago neighbors are endless. Our website, http://www.michigan.org/ , gives information on these travel ideas and more.”

Amtrak reports an increased ridership of 11.9 percent in 2004 on the Pere Marquette Grand Rapids-Chicago line, and 20.9 percent in 2004 on the Blue Water Port Huron, Lapeer, Flint, Durand, East Lansing, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Dowagiac and Niles-Chicago line. The time seems right, state officials say, to encourage Chicago residents to travel to Michigan events and attractions using the Pere Marquette or Blue Water routes.

“We see this as a win-win for Michigan and Chicago,” said State Transportation Director Gloria J. Jeff. “Passenger rail service has never been more convenient, and in these days of high fuel prices, never more cost effective. MDOT is pleased to partner with Amtrak and Travel Michigan to encourage travel from Chicago to Michigan.”

Additionally, Michigan Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) representatives, joined by city and chambers of commerce representatives, and hotel, tourist attraction and festival organizers along the Pere Marquette and Blue Water routes, will meet with travel agencies and travel-related businesses in Chicago at the end of May to promote special events and attractions in their local communities.

Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan’s official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state’s tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services. For more information on traveling in the State of Michigan, visit the official travel Web site at http://www.michigan.org/ , or call (888) 78-GREAT.

State subsidies to Amtrak provide financial support for the daily operation of passenger rail service on the Pere Marquette and Blue Water lines. For timetables and other information about the Pere Marquette or the Blue Water passenger rail routes, visit the Amtrak Web site at http://www.amtrak.com/

Web site: http://www.michigan.org

http://www.amtrak.com

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