Monday, March 3, 2008

What the hell are they thinking?

I am, of course, an advocate for expanding and improving America’s passenger rail system. There are just too many reasons why we ought to be putting a lot more resources toward that as a national goal. Rail is the way to go because it’s good for the environment, it will reduce our dependence on oil, and it can dramatically reduce congestion in the air and on our highways. (Much more on this in later posts.)

A bigger, better national passenger rail system is a no-brainer! Every other country in the world has already figured that out, even third world countries. So why does the power elite in this country keep trying to starve Amtrak to death?

In his current budget, President Bush has proposed cutting Amtrak’s subsidy by 40 percent, which would, for starters, mean kissing all the railroad’s long distance routes good-bye. That’s crazy, of course, and Congress won’t let it happen. But it does reflect the Bush Administration’s mind-set.

Ah, you say, but Bush will be out of office in less than a year. True, but if John McCain is elected, Amtrak will be – as we say here in Hawaii – in deep kim chee. McCain has been an implacable opponent of Amtrak over the years and has said shutting Amtrak down completely would be “non-negotiable” if he’s elected president. That is truly mind-boggling.

Each of us can come up with a list of pluses and minuses for John McCain’s candidacy. His attitude toward our national rail passenger system should come down on the negative side … with a very loud thud!

1 comment:

Waldron Faulkner said...

Over the past ten years I've lived in Washington, New York and Boston, and traveled extensively between these three cities, for both business and pleasure. Amtrak allows us to travel with convenience and simultaneously get work done. Even when air travel can save 30 minutes or an hour, I'll still take Amtrak every time because I can get 3 or 4 hours of solid work time, whereas air travel time is spent getting to/from airports, waiting in line for security, waiting in line to board the plane, waiting in line for a taxi on the other side. Amtrak is part of our culture here, and this information about McCain has me seriously rethinking my "at least he's not Bush" attitude toward him. I had thought improvement was a given in 2008, even if the Democrats didn't win. Looks like I might have been wrong.