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Feasibility study released on proposed commuter train from Holland to Grand Rapids

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A new commuter train for workers making the daily trek from Holland to Grand Rapids is in the works, and that could spell economic growth for the communities in between.

According to a recent feasibility study, nearly 15 percent of all workers in the Holland area commute to Grand Rapids each day. Known as the Chicago Drive Corridor, the train route that runs adjacent to I-196 would pass through Hudsonville, Zeeland and Grandville.

Dan Strikwerda, is the Planning & Zoning Director for the city of Hudsonville. He says, for him, the train is not so much about increasing tourism to Hudsonville, but rather having a reliable means of transportation for the hundreds of workers who come to work at city’s manufacturing plants.

“Right now the focus is economic development,” Strikwerda said. “There has been a real challenge with the industrial complexes, especially with getting the employees they need. Part of the challenge is access. Pretty big cost for having a vehicle, and if you are making $15 an hour what can you or can you not afford? So we are hoping this works out.”

Tentatively named the West Michigan Express, the study found that they new commuter train would cost $8 million to $28 million depending on the level of investment.

Officials say the next step in the process is to gauge the interest of employers along the proposed commuter train line.