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Session ends with no solution to save Southwest Chief route

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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 10:30 pm

New Mexico’s legislative session concluded Thursday without a commitment to fund the state’s share of a proposed partnership to keep Amtrak’s Southwest Chief running through the northern portion of the state beyond 2015.

Five bills that sought solutions for keeping the passenger line on its historic route failed to pass. However, in the state budget, the New Mexico Legislature authorized a study and collaboration between the state’s Transportation Department and its counterparts in Kansas and Colorado, which also stand to lose stops on the Southwest Chief line if it is rerouted.

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4 comments:

  • scott smart posted at 2:53 pm on Fri, Feb 21, 2014.

    scott Posts: 17

    I think the railrunner has disproved your statement about trains being economical...

     
  • scott smart posted at 2:51 pm on Fri, Feb 21, 2014.

    scott Posts: 17

    I hope that the economic impact study is not done by the same outfit that earlier studied the rail runner and spaceport....

     
  • Ernie Barney posted at 10:43 am on Fri, Feb 21, 2014.

    EB Posts: 12

    I have to shake my head at the Gov's "Congress funds Amtrak" position. Congress does NOT provide enough funding to keep trains running. Amtrak and several states have worked to increase funding levels to keep trains not only running but expanding service in their corridors. And forget about federal funding to enable Amtrak to invest for real growth (new equipment, routes, etc.) Doesn't happen. Many states have stepped forward because they recognize rail's importance. Mr. Ribe's post is dead on. The GOP, back to the Nixon admin just after Amtrak was formed, has tried to kill Amtrak. Obama talked a good game on "high speed" rail for America but only threw a few peanuts at it. Amtrak's ridership, on the whole, continues to grow. A recent post here compared trains to stagecoaches and that they should just go away. The poster also commented about how many people take the train to Dallas from Santa Fe. My answer is "none". There used to be but there is no train service today. You are forced to fly or drive. Or how about linking with Denver and other Front Range communities with a rail corridor? How many folks would use such a service? Based on what other states and countries have done my guess would be quite a few. Let's be honest, there are NO passenger trains in the world that are "for profit:enterprises". All receive government subsidies as a public service and rail ridership has grown around the world.

     
  • Tom Ribe posted at 9:38 am on Fri, Feb 21, 2014.

    Tribe66 Posts: 120

    Governor Martinez' response to this crisis is very revealing. To "study" whether Amtrak benefits New Mexico is selfish and dishonest. She knows it benefits the state, just not the sectors she cares about. Of course having transportation alternatives for rural New Mexicans and for the millions of people passing through New Mexico on Amtrak benefits us! Many people won't ride airplanes and trains are by far the most energy efficient form of transport available. If Martinez was up to date and thinking about the future rather than just oil and cattle, she would see the great benefit of investing more in trains, putting in fast commuter rail to join with Colorado so we could have an economic zone extending to Denver. But the GOP won't invest in infrastructure or mass transit. It will be good to have a new governor soon.

     

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