Monday, February 14, 2005

advance amtrak, don't kill it

all i have time for is a few clips:

"President Bush wants to derail Amtrak by eliminating its operating subsidies. This is so outrageous that members of his own party are jumping off this train.

In the densely populated East, Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania called the gutting of Amtrak "unacceptable." Specter wants Amtrak to get $14.5 billion over the next five years. His website says, "My vision for the 21st century includes high-speed magnetic levitation trains capable of traveling at speeds of more than 300 miles per hour from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh with an estimated time of 2 hours, 7 minutes."

In giant and sparsely populated Montana, Republican Senator Conrad Burns has said, "With the distances we have to travel in our state, it is critical to keep as many options as possible for passengers and commerce in our rural area." In the Deep South, the mayor of Meridian, Miss., John Robert Smith, a Republican who served in the 1990s on the Amtrak board, has said, "We cannot have a Third World method of transportation."

Bush's proposed cut stands in stark contrast to recent rail news from around the world. Britain recorded 1.05 billion passengers in 2004, the highest number in 45 years. The government announced last week that it is looking into building a London-to-Scotland line that would travel at up to 225 miles per hour and slash a 400-mile trip down to 2 hours, 35 minutes. In American terms, such a train would allow similar trips between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Boston and Baltimore, Minneapolis and Chicago, or Charlotte and Washington, D.C."