The People Speak: We Want More Trains!
Passenger rail advocates, transportation experts and community leaders can and do get into deep discussions about the merits of rail. They use terms like mobility and connectivity. They talk about benefits to the environment and the curtailing of urban sprawl. And it’s all intended to convince the politicians in Washington to continue or increase funding for Amtrak.
But the most effective argument to use on Congressional representatives and members of state legislatures is also the simplest: They should support passenger rail because the voters want it!Here’s just a sampling:
Cities and towns in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico are protesting the possible rerouting of the Southwest Chief.
California has overcome furious opposition and is proceeding with its ambitious high-speed rail project;
Public officials in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have joined forces in an effort to restore Sunset Limited service between New Orleans and Orlando.
Cities and towns in Kansas and Oklahoma are asking for new Amtrak service.
The mayor of Troy, Michigan, was voted out of office for trying to block the building of a new intermodal transportation facility.
The residents of Hope, Arkansas, are celebrating because their town has been added as a stop on the Texas Eagle’s route.
Ridership has increased dramatically between Chicago and St. Louis because upgrading of the track has reduced running times.
Private investors are backing passenger trains to run between Miami and Orlando in Florida, and between the Los Angeles area and Las Vegas on the west coast.
Millions of dollars are being spent in numerous towns and cities around the country to restore and renovate railway stations.
And despite not having enough equipment to accommodate passenger demand, Amtrak has been setting new ridership records every year.
So when we hear politicians blathering about their philosophical and ideological objections to subsidizing trains, let’s just resolve to say, “Yo! Listen up! You’ve been elected to represent me in Congress … and I want more trains!”
And if they won’t listen to us, let’s kick ‘em out and elect someone who will!