Monday, June 25, 2007

Footnotes on my newspaper column

My column in today’s Democrat-Gazette is about Congressman Boozman’s ill-advised idea that passenger trains cause pollution. It’s on the Voices page in the Arkansas section. Read it.

Even in newspapers, you can’t get around to everything that needs to be said. My comments, generally supporting Amtrak, should not be taken as blinded loyalty. Amtrak spends far too much of its’ time trying to survive and too little running a viable transportation company. Sometimes they could be better managers.

I am not one of these dreamers who expect the return to an age of “luxury rail travel. “ All I would like to see is practical punctual trans as part of a balanced sensible transportation system. Furthermore, I am not necessarily one who backs a European-style system operating at over 200 miles per hour. That would be wonderful, but is politically and economically impossible. We have already wasted trillions in Iraq.

Reliable trains operating somewhere around a modest 80 miles an hour would be great for hauling large passenger loads over modest distances. This is going to take a little thinking outside the box, but America needs better transportation choices.

(Broadcast June 25, 2007)

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