Trains For America

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VT Amtrak supporters take it to the street in rally

Vermont Amtrak Rally

It’s all about America today (yes, even here in Britain, believe it or not) so here’s a little reminder of what that really means. As bloggers, it’s easy to focus on the grand national squabbles over big projects like high-speed rail, but forget about the communities and riders that depend on rail for the vitality of the town and the livelihoods of their citizens. We’ve talked about Vermont’s foolhardy idea to cut Amtrak service in the state before and noted that ridership of VT’s lines has only increased in recent years. News reports continually come out of the state about how citizens are against the cuts. Well, at a rally today at Rutland’s rail station, supporters of the line made sure their voices were heard. Here’s the excerpt from the Rutland Herald:

With the Ethan Allen Express in jeopardy as the Legislature contemplates budget rescissions, the juxtaposition of train riders and advocates Monday was confirmation of what the county’s business and political leaders have said since the possible cut was announced – the service is vital to the community.

One of many elected officials in attendance, Rep. Steve Howard recalled Sen. Jeffords’ fight to hold the state to its promise that if the region did not get an interstate, it would get train service.

“This is about jobs today and about jobs tomorrow,” he said. “Nobody understood that better than Sen. Jeffords.”

Eight-year-old Ian Suddarth, a second-grader at Barstow Elementary School and the youngest member of the Rutland Railway Association, earned the loudest cheers from the crowd when he shared his train-riding experiences.

“Every time I get on a train it feels like I’m starting a new adventure,” he said, as he intermittently peeked over a “Save the Ethan Allen” sign nearly as tall as he is.

The rally was organized by the Vermont Action Rail Network as a build up to a Wednesday evening public hearing before the Legislature, when all are invited to share their thoughts on the Douglas Administration’s proposal to trim $1.4 million from the Fiscal Year 2010 transportation budget by replacing Rutland’s train service with an Amtrak-operated bus route.

This is heartwarming to say the least. In these economic times, we don’t need to be cutting green jobs and services like Amtrak.

Photo credit: Rutland Herald


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January 2009


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