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Thursday, May 30,2013

Airport-Flyer flap

Absent commission member up in air on how he’d vote

by City Pulse Staff
Brian McGrain

Thursday, May 30 — Brian McGrain , whose absence Wednesday night  resulted in a tie vote on the Michigan Flyer issue, said today he is up in the air on the controversy.


“I don’t know,” McGrain said when asked how he would have voted at the meeting of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. The 19-member commission split 9-9 on whether to approve a federal grant for the bus company that is opposed by Capital Regional International Airport.


As a result, the planning commission postponed the issue until its monthly meeting in late June.


The Federal Highway Administration has approved a $595,000 grant to Michigan Flyer LLC , subject to approval by the planning commission. The grant would allow the company to add four more daily trips between East Lansing and Ann Arbor, the first leg of its route to Detroit Metro. Opponents say the expansion will come at the expense of the Lansing airport.


McGrain, who is also an Ingham County commissioner, was reached by phone on Mackinac Island, where he is attending the annual Detroit Chamber of Commerce meeting.


He said he voted against a similar grant two years ago, when most people who spoke to the planning commission expressed opposition. Since then, though, he said the reaction is more split.


“I am looking for a win-win,” he said, adding that he encourages both sides to continue looking for a solution. He said both sides have met but haven’t been able to work something out.


“We have 30 extra days to figure something out to benefit the residents of the region,” he said. “The clock is ticking.”

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