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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

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tackling the Headlines 61

FL governor to fund Orlando airport intermodal station

Take: It's a change from his stance three years ago. Of course, he's also funding the terminal because he has taken a lot of beating for being more fixated on roads than rail. Whatever the case, this is nothing but a huge plus.

A couple of news items from Oklahoma 

The OK DOT has reduced the number of bidders for the Oklahoma City-Tulsa rail line from four to two: Watco-owned Stillwater Central Railroad and previous owner BNSF. At the same time, Iowa Pacific has laid down the gambit by providing a concrete plan to operate passenger service in a letter to Governor Mary Fallin even though his company missed the final cut.

Take: The ball is your court, Oklahoma. Neither the governor nor the DOT can now say that "no one will ride the the train" because ample evidence has been provided to the contrary. If that line is uttered, then, it's a clear signal on how anti-rail the state really is.

Hawaii rail project clears final hurdle

Take: The 50th state will soon have regularly scheduled rail service, which is really good news for all.

Group wants return of passenger rail, others have doubts

Take: Given that South Carolina is a "small government" state, it would be in the advocates' best interest to also talk to other passenger operators via a competitive bidding process in order to hold down costs.

About that Germany-UK service...

Delivery delays have now led to Deutsche Bahn to put the Frankfurt-London service on hold while it focuses on providing services to Brussels and Paris instead.

Take: This is a major blow to the EU's plans to open up the rails to international travel.

Nutmeg State's Central Corridor

It's almost TIGER time again, so Eastern Connecticut leaders have made a full-court press by getting Congressman Joe Courtney to lobby the feds to get funding for the Central Corridor this year.

Take: Now, the other pols in the area need to get onboard. After all, the clock is ticking for passengers in Amherst who currently take the Vermonter.

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