Trains For America

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Amtrak bill opens door for bikes on trains

Via New York’s Streetsblog comes the observation that Amtrak’s new reauthorization bill allows its federal budget to be spent on making trains accessible for bicycles. From Streetsblog writer Ben Fried:

Queens Congressman Anthony Weiner got the language into the bill after prompting from Transportation Alternatives. President Bush has not yet signed it into law, but according to the Times, the White House has signaled that he will.

“In the past, Amtrak has claimed that because the funding bill did not explicitly say that the money may be spent on bikes that they couldn’t make trains bike-accessible,” says T.A.’s Noah Budnick. “Now it should be clear to the most bureaucratic bureaucrat: Federal money for Amtrak can be spent on bike-accessibility.”

The bill does not mandate bike-accessibility, so riders will have to contact Amtrak to put it on its agenda.

This makes perfect sense when you thinking about Amtrak and intercity rail’s role in a cleaner environment. If someone can bike (possibly with the help of public transit) to the train station in New York, it makes sense that they should be able to take their bike with them and use it to get to their final destination when they arrive in Washington DC. Plus, wouldn’t some of those stops on the long distance routes be a great place to have a bike to explore with?

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