By Community Matters
“Lakewood and DuPont officials have protested the planned Point Defiance bypass, worried about Amtrak trains speeding through their neighborhoods and business districts.” To such concerns, and those of fellow-governors in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida who have rejected federal dollars to put high speed trains through their states, Governor Gregoire appears mystified.
“Why they’ve turned it away I have no idea, but that’s good for the state of Washington,” she said. With regards “speeding up the trains”, Gov. Gregoire needs to be brought up-to-speed.
Lakewood’s newest website, www.CommunityMattersWeb.com, solves the mystery.
Am-tax, aka Amtrak, while not a freight train it certainly comes with a lot of baggage.
Some of the headlines of recent articles with the links to their stories to be found at www.CommunityMattersWeb.com all indicate the two rails upon which Am-tax travels: the ignorance of the public, and the arrogance of those pushing the train.
- “Fast Train to Nowhere”
- “High Speed to Insolvency”
- “High-Speed Pork – Why fast trains are a waste of money”
- “Are Proposals for High Speed Rail a Boondoggle?”
Appropriately launched this past May 7th, www.CommunityMattersWeb.com commemorated “National Train Day” promoted on the website for Am-tax where riders are enticed to relax on rail while enjoying water-front views, scenic vistas, and inspiring seascapes – all of which of course will change, presumably the Am-tax website as well, should the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) get its way, by-passing all of the above and double-crossing Lakewood’s business district, trains travelling through the neighborhood 14 times per day at speeds up to 79 miles per hour.
May 7th was also the eve of the 40th anniversary of Am-tax, a kick-off that ticked-off Amtrak’s founder who is now calling it “a massive failure.” Mike Opelka, author of the following excerpt, needs to call it like it is. Seems like he’s holding back:
“This week kicks off the 40th Anniversary of the money-sucking, inefficient, outmoded national rail system we call Amtrak. . . . Amtrak loses bucketloads of money every day. The national rail system operates in the red, generating huge losses and has done so each and every year of its existence. . . putting the overall tab for this antiquated, bloated and inefficient system around $50 billion dollars of taxpayer money. . . . Most private transportation companies have been forced to apply real world solutions in these difficult economic times, yet Amtrak rolls on, acting as if they were exempt from the problem. . . . four decades of massive money losses to serve the transportation needs of less than 2% of the country.”
Meanwhile, speaking of impending train wrecks, Governor Gregoire “wants a new source of revenue to pay for transportation projects, warning Monday that Washington state doesn’t have the money for key expansions or road upkeep in the years to come.”
But Am-tax rolls on. And over, the public. State Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said “It is important that we achieve that goal (of the railway project) in cooperation with the cities and local communities along the corridor. We will all benefit from a deliberate, thorough and transparent process.” Well right now – as you read this – there’s not a whole lot of that happy-we’re-aboard sentiment reflected in the feedback from those who will be taxed to pay for Am-tax.