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With a new administration in D.C., it's time to think outside of the box because passenger rail's survival just may depend on it

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Year In Review Part 4


6. The group (alongside the Cascadia Center) that first blasted Amtrak's 2009 report on reviving the Pioneer has hired an assistant professor from Mississippi State to do an independent analysis on the Pioneer's potential.

7. A study that would provide train service between Oklahoma City and Kansas City is blasted by an advocacy group in the southern Plains.

8. The city of Tallahassee has come out in favor of restoring Amtrak service to their city.

The aforementioned stories are all tied in together because these communities demonstrate that they want passenger service more than Amtrak is willing to give them. The residents and others along the Pioneer route have been the most proactive. The PRO and the Cascadia Center have provided their own solutions (an honorable mention goes to the people who live along the North Coast Hiawatha route).

What is interesting about the OKC-KC route restoration is that the group blasting Amtrak is leader who has at times been aligned with True Believers. It's bad for Amtrak when this group starts calling the railroad out on the study that discourages new service.

Florida, alongside Ohio, is the exact opposite of the West because it hasn't done anything to counter any flawed information that the carrier may have provided. Also, Representative Corrine Brown didn't help when she (through her spokesman) bought the line that other states would have to pay up to revive the missing link of the Sunset Limited. That is not true nor should it be allowed since the Sunset Limited is a national route. Residents along the Gulf Coast should be looking at private operators who could provide connecting service between New Orleans and Orlando. A new operator could not only rebuild the stations along the route, but it could also staff each and every one of them--something Amtrak didn't always do (only Pensacola was staffed between New Orleans and Jacksonville in 2005 as Tallahassee and Mobile had lost their agents)--not to mention, provide the building blocks to transform Jacksonville Union Terminal and the planned SunRail LYNX Station into real transportation hubs (I am assuming that Amtrak leadership would keep the new operator out of the Clifford Road and Sligh Boulevard locations).

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