Airport shuttle service misses out on grant
8:07 PM, Sep. 30, 2011 | Written by Melissa Anders
Michigan Flyer operates a motor coach bus route along Interstate 94 from the East Lansing Marriott University Place on Albert Street to the Detroit airport, with stops in Jackson and Ann Arbor.
The airport shuttle service is adding an eighth daily trip starting on Monday. Service had been scaled back to seven daily trips during the summer.
Departure times have been changed to accommodate the additional trip. The new schedule is available at www.michiganflyer.com/schedules.asp or by calling (517) 333-0400.
Michigan Flyer also is adding a special trip from East Lansing to Ann Arbor on Oct. 15 for Michigan State University’s home football game against University of Michigan.
The shuttle already runs three morning trips from Ann Arbor to East Lansing, and is making an additional return trip to Ann Arbor after the game. It will leave East Lansing at 11 p.m. and make stops at the Sheraton Ann Arbor and the Michigan Union building on campus. Tickets are $15 each way, or $30 round trip.
Michigan Flyer won’t be adding another route to its bus service between East Lansing and Detroit Metropolitan Airport anytime soon.
The privately owned airport shuttle service did not receive a $1.5 million federal grant to help it start a new route from East Lansing to the Detroit airport along Interstate 96. Stops were planned in Howell, Brighton and Ann Arbor. Michigan Flyer already offers service between East Lansing and the airport with stops in Jackson and Ann Arbor.
“The Federal Highway Administration had far more quality applications before them to review than they had funds to award,” said Janet Foran, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, which sponsored the application.
Another local project did receive funding – the city of Lansing received $326,100 to revamp a portion of South Washington Avenue in the REO Town district.
The federal government didn’t tell Michigan Flyer why its application was denied, Chad Cushman, vice president at Owosso-based Indian Trails Inc., said in a statement. Michigan Flyer is owned by Indian Trails and East Lansing-based Okemos Travel.
Still, Michigan Flyer plans to reapply for the grant if funding is allocated for next year, he said.
“While our proposal had strong support from MDOT and the Michigan congressional delegation, local community leaders clearly did not understand that Michigan Flyer is an essential transportation option for a broad cross-section of people in mid-Michigan …” he said in a statement.
Michigan Flyer’s grant application stirred up debate when the Capital Region Airport Authority, which oversees Capital Region International Airport, voiced opposition to the plan. The Lansing airport contended it would encourage travelers to fly in and out of Detroit and detract from the Lansing airport’s business.
The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, which represents Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties, also voted against supporting the grant application.
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