Those who support a greater role for rail -- freight and passenger -- within the nation's transportation mix should make it a top priority to be in contact with the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, presently soliciting public comments in anticipation of legislation for the next three years. The national Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century [TEA-21], which established priorities for the various land-based modes, expires in Sept, 2003 meaning that an entirely new plan will be submitted to take its place.
If the past few weeks have shown us anything, with the announcement that Amtrak was on the brink of bankruptcy but needing only a fraction of the subsidies being provided to the airlines, maritime sector, even the pipeline industry, since 9-1-1, it is that rail lacks the political clout in getting the ear of Congress and especially the White House. Politicians respond to money and constituencies they perceive as having a bearing upon their re-election.
Rail fans (or better "advocates") should now put aside their esoteric differences and pull behind a national effort to influence the next three years of national transportation planning by being in contact with the U.S. DOT, Instructions for submitting comments are contained at http://www.dot.gov
Or call 800-647-5527 for instructions on how, before next January first, to have a say in the role rail should play. Do not run on about the good old days but be concise offering two or three clear points.
Malcolm T Taylor [email@example.com] July 03, 2002 12:12 PMHosted By TrainWeb.com