16 February 2005

Conservatives attack Amtrak...again

The short sighted conservatives are up to their old tricks again. Current target: Amtrak. This old story, all over. The big money corporations that fuel political campaigns (and thus ultimately really pull the strings behind government) continue to spew out their usual rhetoric: more cars, more roads, more sprawl instead of having the slightest bit of foresight and wisdom. Compact cities with an emphasis on trains and public transportation is simply better. Less cars mean more greenspace, more of a sense of community, less pollution, less waste.

The European model is the way to go here. Heavy gas taxes (eek, I said the T word) used to subsidize public transportation systems. Good bus routes to more central hubs for rail. Amtrak is Americas last vestige of a real continental public transportation system, though the conservatives consistently attack it. Hell, what do they care? They have plenty of money to buy more SUVs and Hummers. Its the folks struggling to get by that always get the shaft. More roads do not reduce congestion either, better public transportation designs do.

Further, Greyhound is eliminating many main routes in the countryside. The simple fact is, if you live deep out in farm country USA, you have no choice other than to have a friend with a car take you somewhere now; taxis are too expensive, local short buses (mainly for the elderly) do not travel that far, etc. They say $1bil/year is too much. Well, we pay that every day in Iraq. You can read the story at Yahoo! News