This story also missed the fact that our own Representative Mike Simpson took the opportunity of the recent Philadelphia Amtrak derailment to gratuitously pound on Amtrak in the House Appropriations Committee, when a more thoughtful response would have been to figure out how we can imaginatively restore rail service from Boise to the coast and make it pay through a combination of private, state, and Federal money and passenger fares.
I just think a growing city whose only basic means of transportation is the single-passenger auto is not destined to become a great city. And I'd just like our Boise Depot to serve a real purpose once again -- the one it was intended to have -- instead of just being a press conference backdrop for former Senator Larry Craig's denial of his "restroom enthusiasm" in Minneapolis.
Meanwhile, Amtrak progressively expands up the coast of Maine (it used to end in Boston, was intelligently extended to Portland where it goes intermodal with buses and the airport, now has advanced up the coast to Belfast). Amtrak adds seasonal service to Cape Cod and competes favorably with gridlock-choked roads in the summertime. The State of New Mexico and private business offer "Railrunner" service between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, for both tourists and state government employees who work in the state capital but can't afford to live there and now commute by rail.
It's long been a Republican ploy to use Amtrak as a political whipping boy, all the while ignoring the vast Federal subsidies that support the Interstate highway system and municipal airports across the country. We've done a great job in this country turning our back on a once-great passenger rail system.
In Boise, we still have a depot and the rails and easements west to Portland and Seattle, yet no one has yet put together a plan to diversify our state's transportation system. A real lack of political will and foresight. I guess we just prefer traffic-choked I-84 and lonely, 10-hour drives to the coast. Pity.
You don’t have to seek further than the USA’s sub-soviet-quality passenger railroad system to see that the US is striving to become the Bulgaria of the western hemisphere.
The Hudson River Amtrak train between Albany and New York may have the highest ridership in the country, but it’s still a Third World experience.
Even if Americans seem to prefer for the present moment to drive or fly, it may not always be the case that they will be able to.
Several surprising forces are gathering to take down the Happy Motoring matrix.
Peak oil is actually not playing out in the form of too-high gasoline prices, but rather a race between a bankrupt middle class unable to pay the total costs of motoring and an oil industry that can’t make a profit drilling for hard-to-get oil. That scenario is plain to see in the rapid rise and now fall of shale oil.
America is going to need trains more than it thinks right now, despite what the “free market” says.
The condition of our trains is symptomatic of the shape of the nation.
Mired in debt with disintegrating infrastructure.
Apparently we’d rather just turn into the walking dead.
Memorial Day commemorates soldiers killed in war.
We are told that the war dead died for us and our freedom. US Marine General Smedley Butler challenged this view. He said that our soldiers died for the profits of the bankers, Wall Street, Standard Oil, and the United Fruit Company.
Here is an excerpt from a speech that he gave in 1933:
“War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses."
"The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag."
"Most American soldiers died fighting foes who posed no threat to the United States. Our soldiers died for secret agendas of which they knew nothing. Capitalists hid their self-interests behind the flag, and our boys died for the One Percent’s bottom line.”
And so it still goes……...
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