Thursday, August 10, 2006

Applause or Just Politics

We direct the reader's attention to this article originating with the Philadelphia Enquirer and posted on

We are not sure that we should trust either of these guys (Lautenberg & Lott would make a good name for a law firm), but their pragmatic and somewhat well informed approach to Amtrak funding makes much more sense than the current admin's "let the states do it" approach.

We say "somewhat well informed," because the Northeast Corridor isn't really high speed rail and won't be until it is ramped up to that status in the distant future. Right now it is just trains running at higher than average speeds on existing right-of-way. The latter has been revamped (REVAMP NOTHING) at some cost, but it is not high speed rail like the French or the Japanese know it.

Perhaps that is some of the problem. If our representatives believe that the Northeast Corridor rises or can rise to the standard of the true HSR trains, then we may not have any hope of reaching that goal.

The second half of their article makes much more sense and advances an argument to include more money for Passenger Rail in our transportation budget. The arguments are the same ones we have been making in this blog. It makes no sense not to have an alternative to air and highways, and it also makes all the sense in the world to have an alternate that is less vulnerable to attack. Though most of those with D after their names would deny it, we are in a war in which we are vulnerable to attack. Mr. Lautenberg appears to be one of the few who may recognize it.

As long as this is not just a way to get the Honerables Lott and Lautenberg into another press release, we applaud their efforts. Just don't follow it up with politics as usual.

©2006 - C. A. Turek -

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