Letters to the Editor

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TRAINS: Faster trains would get even higher ridership

Letter by Joshua Heath, Lake Tapps on Sep. 17, 2010 at 11:02 am | 25 Comments »
September 17, 2010 11:02 am

High-speed rail in America has become the topic over the last year. Why does Europe have trains that go 200-plus mph and we, in America, only have an underfunded passenger rail system called Amtrak?

Some may believe that we should invest in that kind of train infrastructure to allow those high speeds. This would be extraordinary expensive and extreme to get any real support. California did it, but it still seems too big and too expensive even for that state.

Amtrak is not bad, despite popular perception, even with a small budget and close to no resources and political support. Trains travel all over the country, and in many areas have gained partnerships within states that have gotten them higher frequencies, better trains and more riders.

Trains are catching on in America. Which is why ridership on the Amtrak Cascades has gone up every year and is close to 1 million riders a year. With more frequency, the fare-box recovery would go up and less money is needed from the state, allowing it to be allocated elsewhere.

If ridership is high now, imagine trains leaving every hour and making the trip an hour faster than by car for roughly the same price.

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