Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Its time for Amtrak

My friend, Jonathan Airport (merely his pseudonym, not his ideology, sounds better than Mr. Trainstation or Hauptbanhof; Mr. Conductor was already taken), was asked if an image of his on flickr of an Amtrak train could be used by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative "think" tank. Mr. Airport was afraid that it would be used in the foundation's continuing crusade for stupidity. Airport seemed to be correct.

The Heritage Foundation sucks and couldn't be more behind the times than now with our transportation energy crisis. They hate Amtrak and fail to see how funding might help our beleaguered intercity corridors in this country. They continue to attack Amtrak's performance when most of the factors which keep it from "performing" stem from underfunding and the fact that Amtrak's cross-country routes mostly run on the poorly-maintained tracks of private freight railroads where Amtrak trains are often forced to stop and fall behind schedule. Whereas in the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington DC, where Amtrak owns a good amount of track, things are fine. Ridership continues to increase and Amtrak serves about half the total market.

With high gas prices affecting airlines and drivers, Amtrak is continuing to look like the best option for corridor travel between cities. In terms of the ongoing fight against climate change, full trains going between cities like Boston - NYC - DC are much more preferable in terms of emissions and land-use impact than congested highways and short-hop airline flights.

These are things I'd tell you on a regular basis. I mainly wanted to have some background as I post these editorial cartoons:

1 comment:

Jonathan Airport said...

I'm thinking most of the Heritage foundation doesn't even blink over Amtrak, it's not even on their radar. Ronald D. Utt, however is still trying to enact his Reagan Administration plan to privatize the Northeast Corridor.