Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Tag: Amtrak


AMTRAK: Lakewood residents’ concerns ignored

Re: “New station plans more popular at hearing” (TNT, 6-27).

It’s nice that Tacoma officials are finally happy about their new proposed station. It’s nice that the Washington State Department of Transportation is working with the City of Tacoma to come up with a viable solution for their station. But the article about the new Amtrak station talks as if South Tacoma is the only community Amtrak is going through on its new Point Defiance bypass route.

What about the residents and businesses in Lakewood and Tillicum, some no more than 20 or 30 feet from the railroad right

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COAL: Dust’s a threat, and that’s no myth

A letter writer (TNT, 3-17) reports that he never saw coal dust when he lived in Kansas and labels concern about coal dust “a myth.” He recommends identifying “who is pushing the agenda.”

A web search using just “coal,” “dust” and “ballast” will reveal that the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway has research from the University of Illinois that confirms coal dust fouls the ballast that supports the rails, destabilizes the track and causes derailments and that federal regulators have confirmed BNSF’s concerns.

Moreover, the proponent of the Gateway Pacific project near Bellingham has committed to following BNSF’s

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TACOMA: Imagination lacking on Freighthouse Square

Re: “Freighthouse Square vs. Amtrak abomination” (editorial, 12-15).

The architects aren’t the only ones to blame here. Amtrak and the current owner also play a part in this unimaginative look and usage of one of our historically prominent buildings showcasing how important the railway was to Tacoma 104 years ago: Amtrak for bringing only one design to the table and the current owner for failing to look at what the building could become.

How about a year-round open market showcasing our local farmers and small shop owners in the vein of Pike Place Market?

Tacoma has pulled itself up

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TACOMA: Thoms responsive to Dome District concerns

The Dome District Development Group, a neighborhood association representing small businesses and residents of the Dome District, is proud to support Tacoma City Councilman Robert Thoms. Since his unanimous appointment in January, Thoms has been incredibly responsive to the Dome District’s concerns and needs.

When an Amtrak station development threatened to block road access to the district, Thoms successfully fought for a solution that protected our neighborhood. He also fought to establish a “quiet zone” for trains passing through the Dome District, cutting down on noise pollution. Throughout, Thoms has been outstandingly receptive to the district’s small businesses and residents.

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COAL: Exporting coal is a statewide concern

Re: “Coal train focus should be on local effects” (editorial, 10-16).

Even if you don’t care about the environment, the statewide economic impacts of the proposed coal terminals should be important to you.

Coal unit trains are proposed to travel through Spokane, along the Columbia River and up the I-5 corridor. Some of these rail lines are already near capacity. And we haven’t even begun to discuss the oil trains.

The federal government, using our taxes, spent $800 million to improve tracks in the I-5 corridor for high-speed passenger rail. Here’s the kicker: The public does not own the

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AMTRAK: 10 minutes gained, great views lost

Re: “Feds OK Amtrak rerouting; courts may be next” (TNT, 3-5).

Amtrak claims the change in rail configuration with the Point Defiance Bypass project would save 10 minutes. Maybe. But how is this “saving” accomplished?

The time is primarily gained by eliminating the line running adjacent to Puget Sound between Point Defiance and Nisqually. This includes spectacular views of the Narrows, the Olympics, University Place, Steilacoom and the Chambers Bay Golf Course.

How many train riders really care about a potential 10-minute saving? How many would rather enjoy the view and may factor that in when taking the train?

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COAL: Trains endangered by coal dust on tracks

Re: “Coal train issue draws scrutiny over traffic, air” (TNT, 1-8).

Ten thousand ton coal trains will place enormous burdens on our community. At our December 2012, the 25th Legislative District Democrats adopted a resolution reflecting our concerns.

Since then we have learned that these trains not only threaten our peace, quiet, comfort and convenience but also the safety of our communities and our national defense.

Open coal cars leak coal and coal dust that foul the ballast supporting the track. Burlington Northern Santa Fe has already experienced derailments when coal-dust fouled tracks combined with precipitation.

If only

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TRANSIT: Light rail is a waste of money

A study this month by the Cascade Policy Institute questioned whether pricey mass transit options in Portland, Ore., are really being used by the public. The city has been a leader in securing funding for various forms of passenger rail and trolley systems. It wanted to verify the claim that the TriMet transit system was able to move more passengers than a standard bus line.

Transportation planners at Metro, TriMet and Oregon’s Department of Transportation routinely make multibillion-dollar decisions based on computer models or simply their own personal beliefs. The field research shows that continued use of the phrase “high-capacity

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