Monday, June 26, 2006

Bye, Norm!

Pardon us for laughing uncontrollably. We had a different subject scheduled for today, but we just couldn't help commenting on Mr. Mineta's exit from DOT as of last Friday. Citing the need for "other challenges," he walks away from DOT having never taken Transportation as a challenge, in our opinion, to begin with.

Perhaps rightfully focused on air transport since 9-11, he has nonetheless made some pretty crappy moves on Amtrak.

His resignation comes less than a month after suggesting that private enterprise will have to invest in the aviation infrastructure that has traditionally been government owned and financed. This appears to be a take on, "Let the States finance it," when it comes to Amtrak. As a Google search reveals, he has, thank God, kept his hands off Amtrak and its funding battles for the past couple of months.

Mr. Mineta has, instead, spent his time appearing at events where he could give speeches demonstrating just how much he does not know about any mode other than air transport.

If Mr. Bush performs to recent character, he will pick another transportation executive with some credentials in something other than transportation. Let's hope he takes a good look at the booming railroad industry and picks an executive who has enough vision to see the pitfalls of shutting Amtrak out of the transportation budget. Alternatively, perhaps he could pick somebody closer to the ground floor, as in commuter rail executive. Some commuter rail agencies move more passenger-miles in a year than any airline.

Finally, and this is just a selfish thought on our part, Mr. Bush could pick Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Bill is an ex-congressperson (one qualification), ex-cabinet member (that's two), and he has been a staunch supporter of Passenger Rail transportation in his home state (that's three). He is already a railroad administrator, as the state owns the BNSF Railway line from Belen, NM, to Raton. Here's the selfish part: This would take Mr. Richardson out of the running for another term as governor and would probably end his democrat presidential hopes for '08.

We can dream, can't we?

© 2006 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com


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