Running a Railroad the Hard Way.
One of the frustrating aspects of NARP’s passenger rail advocacy is coming up against those influential members of Congress who are anti-Amtrak as a matter of political philosophy or ideology. Somehow we need to find a way to get the discussion back to the issue itself.
Of course with some of these people, nothing works because they have other agendas. Take Congressman John Mica (R-Florida), for example. He’s been an Amtrak basher for years and will keep it up as long as it continues to attract the shallow-thinkers in the media, of which there is a seemingly endless supply.
Who knows what motivates Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Texas)? He recently submitted an amendment that would have effectively killed the Sunset Limited, an Amtrak long-distance train that crosses the entire width of his own state … although, I must add, it does not pass through his district.
Then there’s Congressman Jeff Denham (R-California) who is anti-high-speed rail and an ongoing critic of Amtrak, but who also wants to be able to take his pet bulldog with him in the event he should ever decide to take a train ride. So Denham authored the Pets on Trains Act of 2013 and now Amtrak has to figure out how to accommodate anyone, not just members of Congress, who wants to bring a pet along when they travel by train. (Did Denham give any thought to what this new mandate might cost Amtrak? Of course not.)
So Amtrak must continue to deal with the meddling, the micro-managing, and the occasional attempted murder. And that’s a helluva way to have to run a railroad!