More and Better and Faster Trains? Here’s How to Get Them.
As mentioned here a few posts back, the Highway Trust Fund is about to run out of money and, as a result, an effort is being mounted to come up with a comprehensive bill to fund all modes of transportation. The question then becomes which mode gets how much?
NARP is part of a new effort to provide an answer to that: Five billion a year for rail. Click HERE to visit the web site.
Truly, that is what’s needed. Amtrak has been bumping along with federal support of roughly $1.4 to $1.5 billion a year. That works … but only if some maintenance on infrastructure is deferred, if no orders for new equipment are placed, and if coffee pots in sleeping cars are turned off at 9:30 in the morning instead of going all day. (Indulge me a little sarcasm, will you?)
But five billion a year would make a huge difference! For one thing, Amtrak would know what was coming in and could actually plan ahead. For the past 40 years, Amtrak has had to go before Congress every year and ask for funds for the following year. Putting that another way, our national passenger rail system never has any idea of how much money they will have to operate on for the following year. That’s just ridiculous!
But if Amtrak knew that they would get five billion this year … and next year … and the year after that … Well! Order new equipment, including locomotives. Then add a second daily train on the Lakeshore Limited’s route, run the Cardinal seven days a week, and reinstate the New Orleans-Orlando segment for the Sunset Limited. And that would be just for openers.
Make the mouth water? If we’re believers in train travel, it should. It should also make us angry, because $5 billion a year, in the grand scheme of things, is still a pitifully small amount of money.
It’s up to Congress to provide meaningful support for passenger rail. Check out this web site for good information and to learn how you can help. Thanks!