Amtrak is riding high, with overall ridership growing faster than any other domestic transportation mode in the past 15 years according to a new study by the Brookings Institution. That includes the Pere Marquette line, which goes from Grand Rapids to Chicago with a stop in St. Joseph. Ridership on that line is up 67.7% since 1997, from just over 65,000 people a year to over 109,000 a year. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari tells WSJM News in a statement that the report proves the necessity of passenger rail to America's national transportation system and our economy. The Washington DC think tank says that these relatively short routes do far better financially than the long distrance routes that have to compete directly with airlines. That's because they are far cheaper, and often less time consuming that the time it takes to go through security at an airport.
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