Rail Trail one step closer to Clare connection

May 10, 2019

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The completion of the Pere’ Marquette Rail Trail through the City of Clare is closer with recent news from the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Clare City Manager Ken Hibl reported in an email April 25th, “This ‘good news’ email from Nick Alexander, the City’s MDOT contact for our Rail Trail grant application, is an update on the $1.9 million Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant that Bay Region and the Mt. Pleasant TSC (Transportation Service Center) of MDOT (the Michigan Department of Transportation) is sponsoring on behalf of the City. As reflected in the email, we’ve successfully made the first and most important) hurdle by receiving a conceptual approval from the TAP Committee.”

Hibl reported that they should know for certain in July. “If we get a ‘thumbs up,’ MDOT will commence design in 2020 and construction should commence in 2021.”

He added that “the recent ‘thumbs up’ will vastly improve our probability of approval for the $300,000 Michigan Trust Fund Grant submitted for the project” (to extend the trail through the City and connect with the rail trail by the Moose Lodge west of town). The City was turned down for the Trust Fund Grant last year because the TAP grant had not been approved.

Hibl said there’s still more to do… “One of the most important tasks is obtaining formal approval from MDOT Rail this fall.” Since the permits are only good for a two-year period the City will have to wait until fall to formally apply and ensure the permit is valid during the construction period. The permits is needed to create a new rail crossing at the end of Pioneer Parkway.

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