As the United States' prosperity grew and the fortune's of the freight railroads grew with it during the past two decades, we failed in making public policy that took advantage of our prosperity. It is now ironic that some in government would re-establish regulation of the railroads in the face of a faltering economy.
It is more ironic that, as the economy erodes, as the environment looms ever larger in concern, and as energy becomes harder to make and harder to buy, we will need the railroads, and Passenger Rail, more than ever.
We fear we have missed our chance, that a downturn in the economy will now make it both economically and politically impossible to start the projects we as a country need to keep our transportation systems viable.
It is also ironic that the passenger transportation mode that is most energy efficient - bar none - is the mode that gets shafted when it comes to both public funding and public planning. And let's face it, we can't convince our politicians to pay for something that is unplanned and spontaneous. We need a public policy that says the government will back plans that are good and viable, and in fact welcome those plans. No more of the "don't bother me with that" attitude from Congress and the administration - any administration - when it comes to Passenger Rail.
If you can't see the need for Passenger Rail, take a few airline flights. You soon will. If you can't see the need for Passenger Rail, ride an intercity bus. You soon will. If you can't see the need for Passenger Rail, drive an Interstate on a Sunday evening when the rested truckers are making their last haul to the Monday delivery point and clogging all lanes. You soon will. If you can't see the need for Passenger Rail, ride Amtrak and imagine what it would be like if the schedule you are on is multiplied to two to four trains a day, and on time. You soon will.
Please forward this post to every politician for which you are eligible to vote in your district. Maybe they soon will, too.
©2008 - C. A. Turek - firstname.lastname@example.org