Blumenthal Speaks Against Trump Budget; Amtrak Releases Schedule for Penn Station Trains; HSR in Texas Clears Legislation; #SummerByRail 2 Gets Ready
June 2, 2017
Check Out Our Newest Hotline! NARP thanks those members who have sent in industry-related news stories, op-eds, editorials, or letters to the editor from your communities. We include them in our social media efforts, along with the weekly Hotline. Please send your news items to Bob Brady, email@example.com, and we will continue to share it with the membership. We also ask members to send events that we can put on the website here. And please follow NARP on Facebook and Twitter.
Last week, NARP and other transit advocacy groups such as APTA, condemned the Trump Administration’s proposed budget for FY2018, as it would virtually kill long-distance trains in the U.S., among other cuts to transit programs. This week, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) voiced his opposition to the proposed budget, criticizing it during a press conference at a train station in Greenwich, CT.
Noting that the budget would be “absolutely catastrophic,” Sen. Blumenthal raised concerns about safety, reliability, and efficiency for passengers. “These budget cuts would be disastrous to Connecticut and a disservice to Metro North and Amtrak as well as the people who every day board these trains.”
Sen. Blumenthal held the press conference to raise awareness of the proposed budget and encourage more people to voice their support for passenger rail. Sen. Blumenthal urged people to contact their representatives and Republican leaders in Congress to voice their opposition to the plan and NARP cannot stress this enough.
“For this budget to be dead on arrival we need public support,” Blumenthal said. “We need passengers to speak out. We need rail activists and we need the public to be involved. That’s why we’re spreading the word and raising awareness…Public support is vital to make sure Congress keeps faith with the goals and purposes of our mass transportation system.”
In a press release issued last week NARP opposed the administration's plan, which would not only kill Amtrak’s long-distance trains, but also reduce transportation options for millions of Americans, threaten the current transportation infrastructure, and reduce job creation and economic growth nationwide.
NARP Chairman Peter LeCody said, “Having just seen members of Congress thoroughly reject these cuts in the FY2017 budget in April, we’re disappointed to have to fight this same battle so soon. But we also know it’s a fight we can win. We need every single American who relies on transit and passenger rail to get off the sideline today, and let their elected officials know our country needs a modern, safe and efficient transportation network for the 21st Century. If we lend our support to stiffen their spines, Congress will invest in a better future.”
NARP has identified the following threats to rail and transit in the proposed FY2018 budget:
Eliminates $630 million to Amtrak’s long-distance trains, $560 million below FAST Act authorized levels. This budget provides $525 million for the National Network, but targets all funding to the state supported services and other costs, calling for an end to all of Amtrak’s long-distance routes.
Realistically, the proposal would lead to the shutdown of the entire National Network, state-supported trains and all. After years of stagnant funding, aging equipment and stations, and increased ridership demands, Amtrak is already running the national rail system on a threadbare budget. Gutting half of the National Network funding will result in a slow-motion collapse of the entire network.
Reduces funding for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor at $235 million, $280 million below FAST Act authorized levels and $97 million below FY2017 numbers. With tens of billions in critical capital investment needed urgently on the Northeast Corridor, stagnant funding levels will shut the door on a number of crucial projects that will improve reliability.
Funds FAST Act rail grant programs at $51 million, $375 million below the levels authorized for FY2018 in the FAST Act. The budget focuses token funds on the programs targeted at large metropolitan areas, ignoring restoration programs pushed by Senators representing rural areas.
Zeroes out $499 million from the TIGER grant program, slashing the highly successful program that invests in passenger rail and transit projects of national significance.
Cuts $928 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s “New Starts” Capital Investment Program, which is crucial to launching new transit, commuter rail, and light-rail projects.
In response to the proposed budget, NARP is asking its members—and all rail and transit passengers everywhere—to hit back against this reckless proposal by writing their Senators and Representatives today!
Congress has the power of the purse, and combined, the Senate and House can defeat this proposal. Given the positive FY2017 budget passed in April -- which saw increased funding for Amtrak, transit, and intercity rail programs -- we know this is a fight we can win. Members of Congress will be listening to hear which cuts produce the most pushback from advocacy groups, local officials, and members of the public. That’s how they and their staffs gauge where cuts can be made.
Complacency is a real risk: if we stay silent these kinds of cuts could be enacted into law!
Write your member of Congress today!
NARP needs your stories about the National Network to help us fight the Trump Administration’s proposed budget for FY2018. Facts and figures alone can’t communicate how vital these trains are to the communities that depend on them. NARP needs to hear from YOU about your town, and your train. Numbers numb, stories sell.
If you haven’t taken part in this campaign, please take just a minute or two to write out a few paragraphs telling us why passenger rail is important to you, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re looking for stories from individual passengers about how train service benefits their lives, and how their lives would be hurt by the loss of train service. We’re especially interested in stories that describe how trains:
- Connect you to vital services, such as medical care or vital government services.
- Provide access to educational opportunities, whether it’s traveling across the state to university or commuting to an internship.
- Allow you to maintain mobility while managing a disability or medical condition.
- Help you and your business, and its role in helping you connect with customers and clients.
In a press release this week, Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman announced an updated schedule for its trains as the agency plans its repair for New York Penn Station. The preliminary schedule highlights Amtrak’s effort to “accelerate its work to improve conditions and reliability of the tracks at Penn Station during the summer,” according to Moorman.
The adjusted schedule for Amtrak trains in and out of Penn Station on weekdays is as follows:
- Acela Express: No changes.
- Northeast Regional Service: Three round trip trains (six total trains) between New York City and Washington, D.C. canceled. Service between New York City and Boston will operate at currently scheduled levels.
- Keystone Service: Three round trip trains (six total trains) will start and end in Philadelphia, and one round trip train (two total trains) will start and end at Newark, New Jersey. Service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg will operate at currently scheduled levels.
- Empire Service: To be announced shortly.
- Long-Distance Service: The Crescent, operating between New York City and New Orleans, will originate and terminate in Washington, D.C. daily during work period. Connections will be provided on other Northeast Corridor trains.
“Decisions made here will have a ripple effect through Amtrak lines, as well as other commuter lines in the region,” said NARP President and CEO Jim Mathews. “It’s evident that Amtrak is looking at multiple options to ensure that it is providing the best transit options for passengers traveling through Penn Station, or the Northeast Corridor.”
Though Amtrak has now announced its preliminary schedule for repairs and its trains, the Long Island Rail Road has not yet announced how it will navigate the closures. Track closures at Penn Station will also impact NJ Transit, but the agency plans to reroute all of the trains on the Morris & Essex line from Penn Station to Hoboken Terminal. Once here, riders will have to switch to the PATH train or ferry boats to cross the Hudson River. In early June, NJ Transit will also release a schedule for trains on other lines that will have to adjust.
Moorman also said, “While Amtrak’s own service at Penn Station will face the largest impact of the three railroads in terms of proportional reductions in train service during the work period, we will use all the tools we can, such as lengthening trains, to continue to provide capacity for our intercity travelers going to or from New York.”
In other related Amtrak news for the Northeast Corridor, officials for the Gateway Program Development Corporation announced that the organization will solicit information from private-sector construction and finance firms about how to complete the Hudson River tunnel project. The project is a vital aspect of the NEC and is part of Amtrak’s overall $24 billion Gateway Program, which is set to upgrade the area’s highly stressed transit system. John Porcari, interim director of the corporation told the board of trustees that not following through on the tunnel could have "colossal impacts" that are felt throughout the country, and there is significant concern that the funding required to complete the project may not come under the Trump Administration.
“The Hudson River tunnel project is a critical initiative that the federal government should take very seriously, as the aging infrastructure and rail lines will pose a serious threat to commuters in the near future,” NARP President and CEO Jim Mathews said. “It’s important that the Gateway Program Development Corporation gather as much vital information as it deems necessary in order to make sure effective plans and timelines are developed.”
Porcari also made the point that soliciting information from private firms is very different than soliciting proposals. The corporation has been receiving input from various firms ever since the project was announced and "there's a very high level of interest," according to Porcari.
'Rally For Trains': Friday, June 23 -- Save The Date!
The fight to preserve the National Network is in full swing.
Thanks to all of you we've already won a significant victory with support in the Fiscal 2017 spending plan, but the National Network has come under assault again in the Fiscal 2018 budget submission from the administration, and Congress will debate this summer.
And make no mistake: the state-supported services and the Northeast Corridor would also be terribly crippled by the end of the National Network, and this is a moment for everyone who needs passenger-rail service to stand up and be counted.
We'll be organizing a National ‘Rally For Trains’ on Friday, June 23, and we NEED YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN YOUR TOWN.
Watch for emails and announcements on how to take part. Don’t sit on the sidelines!
If you’re not able to participate in person, you can help support our efforts by making a tax-deductible $50 contribution as we gear up to fight back in every town that’s slated to lose service. DONATE TODAY!
High-speed rail advocates in Texas, including those NARP members who voiced their support to state legislatures, hit a significant milestone, despite a number of proposed regulations that look to kill the project. With the Texas Legislature adjourning this past week, officials did not approve any new legislation that would result in preventing the $16 billion project from moving forward.
“This is an important step for high-speed rail in Texas, and it couldn’t have happened without the continued support rail advocates sharing their support for HSR with state officials,” said Jim Mathews, NARP President and CEO. “Allowing the project to move forward allows for the creation of 40,000 direct jobs in construction and engineering, an additional 1,000 permanent jobs in operating and maintenance, a transportation alternative to overcrowded highways and spurring economic growth in communities along the rail line.
The two bills that did move forward and are specific to HSR, would not end the project’s momentum. Senate Bill 977, signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, prohibits the use of state money on high-speed rail. However, Texas Central Partners has stated that it does not intend to use any state funds on the project. In addition, Senate Bill 975 is currently set to be signed by Gov. Abbott and focuses on safety protocols for HSR trains in Texas.
Holly Reed, Managing Director for External Affairs at Texas Central Railway said in a statement, “Texas is proving again to be a leader in transportation, and the Railroad is proud to be a part of that. The Texas Bullet Train remains a key tool in the state’s infrastructure tool box as a safe, reliable and environmentally friendly option that efficiently will move our growing population. As Senate bills 977 and 975 become law, we credit the speaker, lieutenant governor and governor for their leadership and support of fiscal conservatism and safety, as well as the bill authors – Senators Birdwell and Schwertner and Representatives Ashby and Schubert.”
As it stands now, Texas Central plans to begin service in 2023 or 2024.
Rail Passengers Send Two Interns on Cross-Country Trip by Train + Bike
Two college students won the summer’s best internship which will take them on a 27-day road trip by train to 22 cities. Victoria Principato and Caitlin Boyle were hired by NARP for the 2nd annual “Summer By Rail” journey where they will study the transportation system in America. The tandem’s once-in-a-lifetime journey will cross the country, and venture into parts of Canada. They will travel via public transit and their bicycles, stopping along the way to learn about communities that rely on rail. The 21st Century multi-modal “road trip” is the second annual “Summer By Rail” journey NARP has sponsored.
“We are very excited to explore the U.S. and Canada during ‘Summer By Rail.’ This internship will give us a unique opportunity to learn how people in different cities use public transit to get around,” said Boyle, who graduated this year from the Catholic University of America with a degree in civil engineering. “We will also look at the differences we see in style and culture in the various cities and towns on our trip. From food, to fashion, to architecture and design, we hope to spotlight what long distance train travel is like and the incredible experiences that await passengers.”
Boyle and Principato won the internships after a competitive application process in which they proposed their vision for their journey. They will kick-off their “Summer By Rail” on July 31 in New York City, before heading to 21 other cities in the U.S. and Canada, as well as dozens of attractions along the way. Cities the two interns will visit include Burlington, VT; Montreal, QU; Toronto, ON; Niagara Falls ON/NY; Buffalo, NY; Los Angeles, CA; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; New Orleans, LA and many more. The last leg of the trip, starting in Hattiesburg, MS, will see Boyle and Principato conclude their travels in Washington, D.C. on August 26.
“This is a really unique opportunity that we hope will provide us real-life experiences that we can apply to our future careers,” said Principato, who also attends The Catholic University of America as a finance major, with an interest in politics. “Through this trip, I hope to inspire other people to explore America by train. At the same time, I want to be able to influence how local and state governments, as well as the federal government, view the development of policies that can support public transit and connect our country further.”
During their journey, Boyle and Principato plan to use multiple modes of transportation, including the primary mode which will be Amtrak trains, from east coast to west, and back again. They will bring their bicycles on the trip to explore the many cities they visit. While in each town, the two interns will ride buses, streetcars, ferries, and ride-sharing services--to name a few--in order to explore each city.
“Trains are an integral part of our 21st Century transportation system and bring so many benefits to travelers and communities,” said Jim Mathews, President and CEO of NARP. “During this year’s ‘Summer By Rail,’ Caitlin and Victoria will explore the joys of rail travel from city to city and coast to coast. They will have the chance to meet people from around the U.S. and Canada, and bring back important insights that they learn and can help us advocate for more and better trains in America.”
Leading up to, during, and after the trip, Boyle and Principato will share their journey and insights for the world to see on the “Summer By Rail” blog, as well as on Instagram and Twitter. To follow their journey on social media, audiences can utilize the hashtag: #summerbyrail. People can also follow the adventure at Facebook.com/narprail and YouTube.com/narprail.
In the first year of “Summer by Rail” in 2016, George Washington University student Elena Studier and her bike “Stevie” traveled to 20 different cities throughout the U.S., and met with numerous city and transit officials and representatives to discuss the country’s evolving transportation needs. Due to the tremendous success of last year’s trip and a newly found sense of importance to promote support for public transit services, the association continued and expanded “Summer By Rail” in 2017 to include two interns.
With increased demand on passenger rail services and millions of people riding trains every day, the federal government is now moving in the right direction to help transit agencies implement Positive Train Control (PTC). According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, it has provided $197 million in grants to 17 projects in 13 states specifically for commuter railroads utilizing PTC, which can automatically stop or slow trains to prevent derailments or accidents. Agencies that will receive funding include the New York State Department of Transportation, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Oregon Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Transportation, Illinois Metra Rail and New Jersey Transit.
Patrick Warren, executive director of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) highlighted the importance of PTC. "The number of passengers depending on rail has increased dramatically, which means PTC is needed now more than ever. This funding will get us closer to PTC implementation on some of the most significant railroads in the country that transport several million passengers to and from work every day."
Over the past several years, NARP has pushed the federal government to assist in funding the installation of positive train control on passenger rail lines. NARP has highlighted that the nation’s current multimodal transportation system relies on rail service to function safely and effectively, and the implementation of PTC on passenger rail lines is vital.
Congress originally gave commuter and freight railroads through 2015 to implement the technology, but it extended the deadline to December 31, 2018.
During a town hall meeting with residents of Fort Lauderdale, Brightline officials discussed the many pros that the express passenger rail service will bring to the area. When officials told the audience members that the train would be able to travel between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in 30 minutes starting in July, as well as 30 minutes to get from Fort Lauderdale to Miami when that route begins in August, they were thoroughly impressed.
Brightline representatives also discussed:
- The fares for the train would be similar in cost to driving to each of the respective cities.
- Railroad crossing modifications have been done to comply with federal Quiet Zone requirements.
- The additions of medians, four-way or quad-gates, signals and signs at almost every crossing will end the need for passenger and freight train to blast their horns as a warning to drivers and pedestrians.
- Trains would be serving alcohol when service begins later this summer.
- That complete Brightline service officially begins in September.
Upcoming Regional NARP and State Passengers Association Member Meetings
Saturday, June 3, 2017 - Empire State Passengers Association Working Group Meeting - Schenectady, NY
Please contact Bruce Becker to have a local, state or regional meeting added to the NARP calendar of upcoming events!
As the country waits for the Trump Administration to release its plans for infrastructure investment, Trump adviser Richard LeFrak, a real estate developer leading a new White House council to vet infrastructure projects, said he would support increasing the federal gasoline tax to pay for infrastructure projects. Projects would focus on upgrading roads, bridges, railways, airports and more. During an interview with CNBC, LeFrak said adjusting the federal tax for inflation “would produce tens of billions of dollars to annual revenue that would be reinvested.” The federal fuel tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. Trump previously noted he would be interested in raising the tax to fund projects, but quickly stepped away from the idea after if drew flak from Congress.
At the same time as the administration reviews hiking the federal gas tax, Trump’s outline for the infrastructure investment plan also looks to lift current tolling restrictions on interstate highways in order to raise funding for projects. Though tolls are a divided topic on Capitol Hill, Trump’s plan would repeal the federal ban that prevents tolls on the country’s interstate, and it would allow for private companies to construct, operate, and maintain interstate rest areas.
According to the outline, “Tolling is generally restricted on interstate highways. This restriction prevents public and private investment in such facilities. We should reduce this restriction and allow the states to assess their transportation needs and weigh the relative merits of tolling assets.”
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's highways and transit subcommittee, is not in support of the proposed idea. “I’m not a big fan of tolling. I don’t like paying for a road twice.”
Since the release of the FY2018 budget, which included the six-page outline for the infrastructure plan, NARP has pushed back against the plans. This is due to the fact that President Trump has not lived up to his campaign promises to invest in the country’s aging infrastructure. Most notably is that the infrastructure investment package, regardless of gas taxes and tolls, falls short. Not only will the investment it proposes be spread out over 10 years, the $200 billion in proposed infrastructure spending (not the $1 trillion promised in the campaign) is secured through an accounting gimmick, and will be offset by $95 billion in assumed Highway Trust Fund cuts after 2020.
Registration is NOW Open For NARP’s 2017 RAIL NATION CHICAGO Passenger Rail EXPO And 50th Anniversary Celebration - Chicago, IL
- Thursday, November 2 to Sunday, November 5, 2017
- Four days packed with an exciting array of presentations, speakers, exhibits, tours, and events
- Celebrating NARP’s accomplishments over the past 50 years and looking ahead to the future of passenger rail in the United States
- Host Hotel: Millennium Knickerbocker
Republican officials in Ohio are interested in developing not one, but two new airports in the state to help attract international travel, as well as the creation of a new rail system. Rep. Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) and Rep. Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) proposed the development of an airport in Southwest Ohio, as well as one in Northeast Ohio. Under their proposal, which would still need to be written, the project would require a $10 to $15 billion investment from the federal government and businesses, such as airlines that serve Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus or Cleveland and Youngstown. Rep. Butler noted that he is optimistic following President Trump’s emphasis on an infrastructure investment plan for the U.S.
Should the proposal move forward, an important aspect of the plan for the airports would be public transportation to get people to and from flights. Notably, Columbus is one of the country's largest metropolitan cities without passenger rail. To get people connected, Rep. Butler also suggested the development of a new rail system to connect cities to the new airports.
“The idea behind the airports, and connecting each to various cities by rail, is fantastic,” said Jim Mathews, NARP President and CEO. “This highlights how people can use rail and air transportation together to travel - it doesn’t have to be one or the other.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said, "We're standing in what is the future of this island,” at a press conference commemorating a new milestone for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation: testing a rail car on the city’s new rail line for the first time. Officials took a 3-mile ride on the tracks as the rail car traveled between the Waipahu Transit Center and the West Loch Station. Though the rail car was towed, the overall goal was to make sure it had enough clearance along the rail line and there were no obstacles in its path.
“This is a great moment for Honolulu and passenger service on the island,” said NARP President Jim Mathews. ‘But movement needs to continue on the project if officials hope to complete it and get it up and running.”
With the initial test complete, about half of the railway, or 10 miles, has been built so far, but the project is currently facing a shortfall estimated at $1.5 billion to $3 billion. Caldwell requested that state officials allow the city to extend the general excise tax surcharge to help pay for the rail project, but the Legislature adjourned without reaching agreement on a funding solution. Lawmakers could call a special session to decide a funding plan, but Caldwell said at this point there's no indication that lawmakers have made progress getting closer to an agreement. As it stands now, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit has spent about $2.6 billion total on the project, including more than $700 million in federal dollars.
NARP Office Move Update
NARP has moved into new offices that will become the launching pad for advocacy activities in Washington, D.C.
Easily accessible from the Metro Center Metro station and steps from Capitol Hill and the White House, the new offices offer a state-of-the-art conference space that will enhance the effectiveness of advocacy for passenger rail in America.
The 2,000-square-foot location at 1200 G Street, NW, Suite 240, Washington, D.C. 20005 is fully ADA-compliant so that members with mobility challenges will be easily and safely able to visit the new offices. The building also offers bike-friendly lockers and 24-hour security.
NARP will host a series of open houses for members in its Metro Center neighborhood in the months ahead. Please stay tuned for more details regarding a planned ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Following the decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon to require new studies for the Purple Line in Maryland, officials have decided to suspend development and construction in seven specific areas. Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn made the announcement this week, and asked Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) to limit work in order to reduce dollars spent on the project as it sits idle. Lawyers are currently appealing Judge Leon’s decision to new ridership estimates as part of an environmental study, but the process could take through 2017 and into 2018.
The seven actions the Maryland Department of Transportation ordered are:
- The contractor, Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), is directed to suspend the execution of new construction contracts; and
- PLTP is directed to suspend all procurements for non-essential materials and equipment; and
- PLTP is directed to freeze all hiring of construction staff; and
- MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) is directed to suspend all hiring of Purple Line oversight staff; and
- MDOT MTA is directed to suspend state funding of county design reviews; and
- MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and MDOT MTA are directed to pull from the Board of Public Works any requests for the purchase of right-of-way for the Purple Line project.
- All parties are directed to limit the obligation of further costs for the Purple Line project to those of agreed necessity.
One notable project that federal funding can support is San Francisco’s historic F-Market and Wharves streecar line. The line only runs to Jones St and Beach St, but the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency applied for a $1.1 million federal grant to study the possibility of running the streetcar to the Fort Mason Tunnel, where it hasn’t run since 1951. This is also the the first major step the agency has taken to revive the tunnel in four years.
Dennis Lytton, a local transportation policy expert and former staffer at the American Public Transportation Association discussed the opportunities that the tunnel could bring to the area. “Using the Fort Mason Tunnel for Muni trains could relatively cheaply expand it to the Marina and the Presidio.” Lytton also recommends that, “…Muni switch to using modern streetcars. These are the standard for new streetcar systems across the US and worldwide. They are basically more nimble versions of Muni light rail trains and are capable of low floor boarding.”
Notably, movie audiences across the world got a glimpse of San Francisco’s scenic views — and the Fort Mason tunnel itself — when fictional detective Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry), played by Clint Eastwood, ran through it with ransom money stuffed in a yellow duffel bag.
Texas Central Through the Eyes of One of NARP’s Own
By Betsy Nelson
I have the pleasure of writing this article about my daughter, Lacy! I guess it’s only fitting that our children would have a penchant for trains and rail issues, as my husband is a Council member and I’m a NARP Staff member.
In January, Lacy began an internship with Texas Central Partners in Dallas, as their first ever intern. She became involved with Texas Central and their vision as a student at Texas A&M. She was even a witness speaking in favor of Texas Central’s High Speed train between Dallas and Houston at a Texas A&M Student Senate hearing last year. Her outspoken support of the proposed rail link certainly got her noticed! Through her work at Texas Central, Lacey has found that she is now interested in pursuing a career in public relations and communications – rail related jobs can be in many different fields! Lacy will be quick to tell you she had other plans for this semester, but when Texas Central offered her the opportunity to be their first intern, she couldn’t refuse. Although she had significant experience understanding rail advocacy growing up in the Nelson Family, Lacy had not been involved in the legislative area of advocacy. She quickly realized that she has found her niche. “It’s just been a really great experience that has actually cemented my decision to eventually venture into public policy and public relations, Lacey said.” Learning the ins and outs of legislative work has opened her eyes in how important grassroots advocacy is when promoting an issue, especially a project that is the first of its kind.
As a Millennial, Lacy wants the US must to move forward with more efficient transportation options that don’t eat away at productivity, leaving travelers stressed. I-45 is the second most dangerous interstate in the US and the most frequent cause of fatalities are DUIs. “With more and more people moving to Texas every day and continual congestion on I-45, it is time for a transportation revolution, Lacey said.” Lacy never stops talking about how proud Texans are of their state and that “everything IS bigger in Texas!” She explained, “This is the most important project in Texas and possibly the entire country. Texas is setting itself up to be the leader in high-speed rail and show the rest of the country that high-speed rail is the future; to protect and create jobs, protect our environment, to save lives.”
Lastly, I asked Lacy how Millennials can learn about and get involved with Texas Central. She said Texans should go to www.texascentral.com and click on the TAKE ACTION tab; if you live outside Texas, text TRAIN to 52886 to get updates. Additionally, following Texas Central on social media is a great way to keep up with the progress of the Texas Bullet Train. “The end of the 85th Texas Legislative Session means an end to my internship, but I will continue to advocate for and support Texas Central because I believe high-speed rail is going to be a game-changer in Texas!”
Lacy sees the Texas Central bullet train as a way to preserve the Texas landscape by not building expensive and expansive highways and airports that gobble up the land Texans love, and she loves the fact that Texas is on the cutting edge of high speed rail! Lastly, Lacy sends her thanks to all the NARP members across Texas who called and wrote their Texas legislators in support of Texas Central and the bullet train. NARP truly made a difference!
You can read more about Lacy on Texas Central’s website at http://www.texascentral.com/2017/04/25/wanted-intern-texas-central/
Amtrak will operate a one-way inspection train on June 9th, starting its trip in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and ending in Kansas City, Missouri. Amtrak intends to evaluate the section of BNSF Right of Way and explore the possibility of extending its Heartland Flyer north to Newton, KS with hopes to connect it with the existing Southwest Chief line. Expanding and connecting passenger rail in this part of the country is crucial in solidifying the importance of the national rail network. Have a look at the schedule, and consider meeting the train at one of its stops if you can!
For the inspection train’s full schedule for June 9th, please see below:
- 7:45am CDT DP Oklahoma City Santa Fe Station (downtown)
- 8:30am DP Guthrie
- 9:15am DP Perry
- 10:00am DP Ponca City
- 10:45am DP Ark City
- 12:05pm DP Wichita
- 1:00pm DP Newton
- 2:20pm DP Emporia
- 3:45pm DP Topeka
- 5:30pm AR Kansas City Union Station
There are openings for state representatives on the NARP Council of Representatives, including one each in Alabama; Arizona; Hawaii; Idaho; Indiana; Missouri; North Carolina; North Dakota: Ohio, Texas, Virginia (2 openings) and Wyoming. There is also one ‘At-Large’ Representative position currently available. Check out the full, up-to-date, list of current vacancies here.
If you want to become more active in NARP’s leadership and work, this is your opportunity to become involved. If you are interested in being considered for an appointment to an open state seat or to the ‘At-Large’ position by the Board of Directors please visit review these position responsibilities and required qualifications and complete the corresponding Candidate Information Statement. There is no deadline to apply...submissions are considered as they are received.