The only presidential candidate with a real, hands-on record pro-Passenger Rail is out of the race. Bill Richardson is no longer a candidate and has refused to say who he will endorse. You can bet he's still on the menu for VP, however.
We have roundly criticized Mr. Richardson for his approach to NM Rail Runner and for his approach to presidential candidacy. Nonetheless, his record pro-Passenger Rail is astounding. The basic commuter rail system was up and running in record time. He devoted time and money to get it done and it was done. We see this as a greater accomplishment than what Congress has done with Amtrak in a whole decade.
Not only is the basic system done, but it WILL go to Santa Fe, the state capitol, and it will do it riding down the median of Interstate 25, a busy commuter stretch. It can only be good for ridership when, one day, commuters in their stop-and-go traffic watch the Rail Runner speeding by and note how much more pleasant and convenient that could be.
We criticized the choice of the median, but now that it IS the choice and is underway, we support anything that keeps the train rolling.
Had Mr. Richardson been given the chance to implement just one Amtrak improvement as significant as this (proportionately for the entire US), we would be looking at a better national system than we have had since Amtrak day one and for long before.
We are not supporting Mr. Richardson's party, and we are not fond of his other politics. Bring 'em home no matter what particularly stinks, particularly. But none of the remaining candidates have this much success and progress, pro-Passenger Rail, under their belts.
A Big One is down.
© 2008 - C. A. Turek - firstname.lastname@example.org