Trains For America

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Washington State heads south on rail development

How suddenly big money special interests strike and state bureaucrats cave. That is the impression I develop of the disturbing mess in Washington State. We expect my home state, Alabama, to be completely backwards on transportation. It is another matter when a supposedly progressive and modern government turns its back on the people.

Brian Boundridge has a couple of new posts of interest. Here is a link to the first and another for the second.

My other observation, from way down in Arkansas, is that Washington State, where I lived (Spokane) from 1979 to 1983 has a vibrant two party system and a highly educated electorate. There is a possibility for reform which does not exist in many locations.

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

One Response

  1. EvergreenRailfan says:

    It got pretty bad, at one point the Democrats in Spokane were down to just the Downtown Spokane Legislative District(I forget if it is the 3rd or 6th). They took back one of the suburban districts recently. This is one reason I have wanted a daylight Eastern Washington Train, preferably on the old NP routing. It has the population base of Eastern Washington, and if they got the same thing us here on the Westside of the State had built, it could be a sea change. Now one of the State Senators that says we can’t fund rail because of the budget crunch, stands to gain from more passenger rail here, the new station at Stanwood, is in her district. Mount Vernon(where two daily trains now stop already), is just outside it. Some of thee projects are ready to go, and unless WSDOT can convince that what has been funded already should be considered a state match, they are not going to get any ARRA funds.

    I welcomed the Democrats here winning some tough Republican bastions, but we got Democratic-lite, or worse. We have one Mercer Island Democrat who is standing in the way of being ready for an early start for East LINK LRT. Constantly deferring state money for HOV-lane relocation on the I-90 Bridge to the outer roadway, so the current reversible lane can be converted to LRT, as intended. If Sound Transit had the money, I would consider bypassing her Island altogether even though it will add to commute times by going around the bottom of Lake Washington through Renton and up I-405. There is a major employer in Renton and Everett that is dependent on freight rail to effect their transition to just in time delivery and production, Boeing. The entire 737 fuselage is shipped to Renton by rail, and parts of the 747, 767, 777, and 787 are shipped by rail. Some of the improvements for Amtrak Cascades will benefit them. For State Senator Haugen, I am sure some of the people in her district are Boeing Employees. Maybe both the IAM and Boeing could jointly bring up the situation with rail. I believe it were IAM members that built the Amtrak Cascades trainsets.

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