Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

BART extension approved

If California is, as often proposed, a predictor of national trends, the future is bright. The big news here is the super-majority requirement to impose this one-eighth cent sales tax. It took 66% of the 600,000 votes cast to approve a project that will be complete in ten years. has tonight’s story, but here is the most relevant portion.

The BART expansion will run from Fremont through Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara, adding six stops to the line. The $6.1 billion project would also connect BART with Caltrain, the Altamont Commuter Express, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority lines, Amtrak and the future high-speed rail line.

Yeah, it’s transit, but this is really big news. We have had a lot of that lately.


Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

Rail ridership in California still up

Progressive Railroading has the latest. Mostly good news, with some decline in southern parts of the state. Read it all here.

During the first month of the new federal fiscal year, ridership on the Auburn-to-San Jose Capitol Corridor totaled 157,353 — a new October record. Ridership rose 16.8 percent compared with October 2007’s total.

On the Oakland-Sacramento-Bakersfield San Joaquins, ridership rose 22.6 percent year-over-year to 79,233. 

Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

HSR proposals near

Florida Rep. John Mica will start briefings today on upcoming HIgh Speed Rail proposals on 11 designated corridors. Progressive Rail News is following developments with this report.

The bill requires the USDOT to solicit project proposals by Dec. 15 from the private sector for the 11 federally designated high-speed rail corridors. Governors and mayors, freight and commuter railroads, labor organizations and Amtrak will evaluate the proposals for each corridor.

Well, it’s a beginning.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, United States High Speed Rail

Auto Train returns Saturday

WESH files a report.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Travelers on Amtrak’s Auto Train will resume service on Saturday, officials said Thursday. 

The Auto Train, which carries passengers and their cars between Sanford and Lorton, Va., was canceled on Tuesday after inspectors found cracks in one of the carriers.

Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

Republican circular firing squad

It is a rather entertaining analogy previously applied to Democrats after major defeats. Southern Political Report deals with the aftermath of November elections and some possible upheaval among congressional leaders. Specifically, the house leadership is being contested and voting records are being contrasted. Here is an interesting nugget.

On the House side, Boehner has an ACU score of 100 as well (his career score is. Lungren voted with him on every issue in the 2007 ACU survey except for one: HR 1401.  That bill “would have eliminated taxpayer funding of the 10 Amtrak long-distance routs that have lost the most passenger revenue.”  ACU opposed the amendment, but given the energy costs and need to reduce traffic congestion and stress upon our nation’s roadway infrastructure, the vote should not hurt Lungren too much with conservatives.

OK. The test is rather confused. If the American Conservative Union opposed the amendment, they took the pro-Amtrak position. In that case, Lungren took the more “conservative” position. I cannot help but wonder if this copy is a bit muddled. 

Let’s get down to this idea that long distance trains lose more passenger revenue than corridor trains. This is a political tactic of “divide and conquer.” It is also a case of repeating a big lie until it becomes the truth. If one were completely fair, there would be no certain way to know which train “lost” the most money. This would involve the proper allocation of terminal costs,  reservations, and on board operations (and who knows what else). It is an argument that is not easily supported by facts.

They are sure right about one thing. Supporting sensible transportation policy never hurts a politician.


Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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November 2008