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Election results and Amtrak

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jloewen

Train Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
85
Even if the Senate remains in GOP control, remember that Biden and McConnell have a collegial relationship of long standing. My opinion: what Washington has been missing for a very long time is when the leaders of our Government stopped having those "post work day" get togethers that in the past helped to produce bipartisanship solutions to difficult issues. Have the new President invite McConnell and the Speaker of the House (Pelosi or whomever) to the White House for a few "after work drinks" and a discussion of the issues of the day.

I saw an interview with Mrs. John McCain where she said that Senator McCain and Senator Biden would fight "tooth and nail" on the Senate floor over a piece of legislation. And, then, go to the Senate Dining Room and have lunch together. That's the type of man that our President-Elect is I think. That's the kind of a relationship that will help to get things done that need to be done in this Country. Amtrak ought to also be able to benefit from such a situation as well.
The problem is: howhere within even reasonable driving distance of the Capitol is there a Dairy Queen. As a result of having to live without even the prospect of a Heath Bar Blizzard, ALL our lawmakers, Democrat and Republican, are grumpy. As am I.
 
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NSC1109

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
368
Location
MI
The long distance eulogy has been written more times than I can count but people like Biden are a big part of why Amtrak still exists today. Biden helped keep Amtrak funded as a Senator and helped convince Obama to support passenger rail as well. The LD network has suffered greatly in recent years but Biden was not in power so that's not on him. Although this debate is often portrayed as regional vs long distance here on the forum the truth is when it comes to policy and funding what helps one often helps the other. In my view the best way to fix this divide is to remove the profit requirement and to replace the board with people who see the whole as more than the sum of the parts.

Agreed. Assuming Biden is the 46th POTUS, (they're just projections right now), it would be a very, very good thing for Amtrak for the next four to eight years. It might finally be the break they've been waiting for to start expanding into new areas (MSY, DEN, PDX, MSP) and improving service across the system. A dedicated funding source like a trust would be a massive improvement over the kitbashed funding they have now.
 

Amtrakfflyer

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
477
This came out yesterday within hours of the race being called by the networks. For such a short statement I find it positive on many levels. He touches on Network and NEC trains. He touts Amtrak as being a GREEN mode of transport which I haven't heard him mention before. He also didn’t waste any time waiting for the results to be certified as an ideologue who’s anti Amtrak might have.

 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,296
3) While I could see Republican opposition to any proposals for build lots of 200 mph high-speed rail or something, I think there could well be bipartisan agreement on expanding Amtrak, especially if a lot of the expansions are in "Red States."
Your comment about many of the LD trains traveling through Red States provided a new thought for me. Since Ohio seems to have become a more reliable Red State than it once was, maybe more passenger rail service for Ohioans is not a forlorn dream.
 

NSC1109

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
368
Location
MI
Your comment about many of the LD trains traveling through Red States provided a new thought for me. Since Ohio seems to have become a more reliable Red State than it once was, maybe more passenger rail service for Ohioans is not a forlorn dream.
There were a few Ohio projects in the RPA presentation a couple months ago, including trains to Cincy and Cleveland (via TOL).
 

Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,296
The problem is: howhere within even reasonable driving distance of the Capitol is there a Dairy Queen. As a result of having to live without even the prospect of a Heath Bar Blizzard, ALL our lawmakers, Democrat and Republican, are grumpy. As am I.
No Dairy Queen? No Heath Bar Blizzard? :( What they need to make them less grumpy is some Graeter's Ice Cream. No store in Washington, but Graeter's does ship their product nationwide. ☺
 
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Dakota 400

Conductor
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
2,296
This is a politically wise statement for Mr. Flynn to make. I see it as an attempt to make Amtrak's issues more prominent in the minds of Mr. Biden's advisors and aides. And, it will appeal to the New Green Deal members of our President-Elect's Party.
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
576
Location
Denver
Astute.
In my work I have long been impressed by the Highway Lobby. When the Republicans win, they've always been in favor of stimulating business by improved access, faster truck deliveries, opening up farmland for suburban developments, improving efficiency with toll lanes and bond financing, etc. As soon as the Democrats win, they've always been in favor of making construction jobs, toll-free roadznbridges, holding down current gas taxes while increasing spending, etc. Their actual goals remained unchanged.
 

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,603
Location
Long Island, NY
An unfortunate result of the election is that Rep. Daryl Issa (Amtrak gadfly) decided to run to return to the House....and won!
 

daybeers

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
772
Location
HFD
Astute.
In my work I have long been impressed by the Highway Lobby. When the Republicans win, they've always been in favor of stimulating business by improved access, faster truck deliveries, opening up farmland for suburban developments, improving efficiency with toll lanes and bond financing, etc. As soon as the Democrats win, they've always been in favor of making construction jobs, toll-free roadznbridges, holding down current gas taxes while increasing spending, etc. Their actual goals remained unchanged.
Don't know where you're getting that info, but there is this thing called induced demand. Any highway lanes/miles you add are just going to become clogged again within a matter of years, and everyone knows the gas tax doesn't work as a reliable funding source anymore. With improved fuel economy, a larger and increasing proportion of vehicles being hybrid or electric, and more public transportation options, that makes sense. We need a different way of funding infrastructure projects, and those projects should be for clean transportation, not new highways.

Also don't know why you're generalizing that Dems as wanting toll-free roads & bridges because that is simply not true.

We need a massive, structural overhaul of the transportation system in the U.S. and that does not include "opening up farmland for suburban developments" because that equates to extreme levels of urban sprawl that has largely cemented and expanded the U.S. obsession with automobiles & auto-centric environments which has gotten us to where we are today: extremely long commutes rife with delays, injury and fatality rates rising well above other similar developed countries, disconnected communities where whole lives are centered around the car for work, education, food, essential everyday needs, entertainment, & travel, thus rising global temperatures & strengthening natural disasters that break records every year and will displace millions in the years to come, with sadly those who contribute the least to climate change feeling the worst of its effects. Not to mention the housing values in places with reliable, well-connected public transportation being out of reach for the vast majority of Americans.

If people can't reliably get around to fulfill their everyday needs, of course they aren't going to succeed.
 
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Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
576
Location
Denver
Don't know where you're getting that info, but there is this thing called induced demand. Any highway lanes/miles you add are just going to become clogged again within a matter of years, and everyone knows the gas tax doesn't work as a reliable funding source anymore. With improved fuel economy, a larger and increasing proportion of vehicles being hybrid or electric, and more public transportation options, that makes sense. We need a different way of funding infrastructure projects, and those projects should be for clean transportation, not new highways.

Also don't know why you're generalizing that Dems as wanting toll-free roads & bridges because that is simply not true.

We need a massive, structural overhaul of the transportation system in the U.S. and that does not include "opening up farmland for suburban developments" because that equates to extreme levels of urban sprawl that has largely cemented and expanded the U.S. obsession with automobiles & auto-centric environments which has gotten us to where we are today: extremely long commutes rife with delays, injury and fatality rates rising well above other similar developed countries, disconnected communities where whole lives are centered around the car for work, education, food, essential everyday needs, entertainment, & travel, thus rising global temperatures & strengthening natural disasters that break records every year and will displace millions in the years to come, with sadly those who contribute the least to climate change feeling the worst of its effects. Not to mention the housing values in places with reliable, well-connected public transportation being out of reach for the vast majority of Americans.

If people can't reliably get around to fulfill their everyday needs, of course they aren't going to succeed.
I thought about using more proper nouns but to make my post easier to read I used prepositions. "They" refers to highway promoters, not my own views or the views of legislators. The highway lobby's go-with-the-winners approach goes back to the 1910's in the Progressive Era.

To varying degrees the same approach is used in other countries. For example, since 2017 British Columbia has been governed by a party which is to the left of U.S. Democrats and opposes bridge tolls into congested Vancouver. Views such as this are why European parliaments have separate Green parties distinct from labor-oriented Left parties. The latter are more auto-centric. We can't generalize about views regarding highways in the U.S. because there is little party discipline for what is seen as a minor issue once the platform is drafted and filed away.
 

pennyk

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
10,523
Location
Orlando, FL
MODERATOR NOTE: Two threads (New dawn for Amtrak and Amtrak CEO reaches out to Biden) were merged into this thread. Please post any comments relating to Amtrak and the election results in this thread. Please avoid political comments that are unrelated to Amtrak. Some posts that were either off topic and/or political and unrelated to Amtrak have been removed. Responses to removed posts have also been removed. Thank you for your continued cooperation.
 

Acela150

Conductor
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
8,823
Location
In a Sea of Foam
National Network, PV owners, OBS, food service, etc.... Someone in Philly isn't well liked by most people here, or in the incoming administration.
I can believe it to an extent, even more so with the past few years of Amtrak leadership. I'll drop you a PM sometime soon.

MODERATOR NOTE: Two threads (New dawn for Amtrak and Amtrak CEO reaches out to Biden) were merged into this thread. Please post any comments relating to Amtrak and the election results in this thread. Please avoid political comments that are unrelated to Amtrak. Some posts that were either off topic and/or political and unrelated to Amtrak have been removed. Responses to removed posts have also been removed. Thank you for your continued cooperation.
Thank you Penny!
 

jiml

Conductor
Joined
Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,913
Location
Somewhere in Southern Ontario
Views such as this are why European parliaments have separate Green parties distinct from labor-oriented Left parties. The latter are more auto-centric.
It's no different in Canada, where the "labor" party wasn't "green" enough, so a Green party started. However, in defense of one thing @daybeers said:
Also don't know why you're generalizing that Dems as wanting toll-free roads & bridges because that is simply not true.
All parties seem to look a tolls as a way to raise taxes without appearing to raise taxes. Left-leaning parties of all stripes know they can sell tolls to city-dwellers on the "user pay" philosophy, since they won't affect those who can walk, bike or take transit to work. When a different party comes to power they are faced with retaining the tolls in-place or finding an alternate revenue stream.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,920
Location
Ithaca, NY
Biden has a heavy debt to the far left, and they will come calling, with all their bail outs and free stuff, there will only be only a few table scraps for Amtrak at best. I’m not trying to be caustic I just see the world though different lens.
OK. You don't know much about the far left, obviously. Those are just stereotypes. But I'm going to be polite.

I do know something about the far left. One of those "free stuff" things the far left wants? WAY MORE PASSENGER RAIL. So, be optimistic. :cool:
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,920
Location
Ithaca, NY
Even if the Senate remains in GOP control, remember that Biden and McConnell have a collegial relationship of long standing.
Unfortunately, cooperation requires two sides. McConnell decided not to cooperate with Obama because, well, nobody knows for sure, but it wasn't a good reason. Obama was cooperating. McConnell decided to block everything proposed by the House instead of negotiating, for most of the last two years, only letting one coronavirus relief bill through. You have to expect McConnell to continue to behave the way he has been behaving. I certainly hope he cuts it out and starts behaving himself, but I wouldn't bet on it.

After the Georgia runoffs, if Democrats don't win both of those, our next best hope will be if Biden picks Toomey, Collins, or Rand Paul for the Cabinet.

I would think some of the other Republican Senators might finally realize that McConnell is stifling *their* goals. Which he is, by bottling up all legislation, even bipartisan legislation. But they haven't so far. It's perplexing.
 

FunNut

Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 13, 2010
Messages
170
Location
Rowe Mesa, NM
It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the Biden/Harris family and team charter a train for the trip from Wilmington to D.C. the day before or day of the inauguration. It's possible that a vintage carriage with a platform at the rear is being fitted with a bulletproof bubble. I would love to watch the tv coverage of that trip. The "Unity Express."
 
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Messages
14
Location
West Texas
I wouldn't be surprised if we see another Infrastructure Bill put on the floor with Amtrak in mind. If I am Amtrak I am asking for major infrastructure upgrades and equipment. I'd expect this bill to also include funds to air and road networks as well. Especially since airlines are struggling right now.

I love long distance trains, but I would focus on improving fast medium distance trains between major cities.
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
753
1) Amtrak is not exactly the biggest item in the Federal budget. In fact I would imagine that Amtrak is a bit of an afterthought.
2) Over the years, and even during the current administration, Amtrak funding has received support from both sides of the aisle in Congress. Most of the Senators who opposed the proposed screw-over the the Southwest Chief were Republican. After all, the National Network trains run through a lot of states represented by Republicans. Remember that Amtrak is basically a political deal where they fund the National Network that provides public transportation access to rural areas not well served by anything else, and they also fund corridor service to connect large urban areas.
3) While I could see Republican opposition to any proposals for build lots of 200 mph high-speed rail or something, I think there could well be bipartisan agreement on expanding Amtrak, especially if a lot of the expansions are in "Red States."
Sounds reasonable. Will McConnell and the GOP Senate BE reasonable? The best we can hope for is no one on their side of the aisle chooses to make a big issue out of Amtrak funding, which is a miniscule part of the big picture — so that Amtrak, its employees, and riders win.
 
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