ratpag can’t find the source of the quote in our headline but we’re pretty sure Joe Boardman, Amtrak’s President, did say it. Or maybe think it. The fact of the matter is that here it is now, on the internet, for all eternity.
Ok, ratpag relents. We have no proof that Joe said that. We hoped that traditionally non-rail-supportive organizations would boost our claims but, surprisingly, we could find no chastising or condescending words to support our claims over at Fox News. Instead, we found only sorrow in that the Southwest Chief may have to reroute due to lack of funding and, subsequently, bypass “stops in nine small towns, depriving the region of thousands of passengers, dozens of jobs and the millions of dollars in economic impact that they bring.”
A 600-mile stretch of track has begun to show its age and, without funding, will not be able to safely carry passenger trains by 2016. Amtrak has put a price tag of $200 million on the repair work and has proposed “a five-way split among the states [Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico] and the two railway companies [Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Amtrak].”
If funding isn’t found the Southwest Chief will live on – just along an alternate route through Amarillo to Albuquerque. Las Vegas, NM (the other Las Vegas) resident Marilyn Sanchez was furious upon hearing of such a plan, stating “It wouldn’t be cool, I would not like that at all.” Furious!
No, Marilyn, it wouldn’t be “cool.” There’s nothing “cool” about rerouting a long-established passenger rail route because a few states and entities can’t agree on how to scrape together $200 million over 10 years (given the split responsibility and time frame, each state is asked to contribute $4 million per year for 10 years). This is America! We have tourists from god damn Perth, Australia (such as Chris Dickinson, who was interrogated about this re-routing idea while waiting in Raton, NM) flying over here just to ride this thing and see the scenery of this great land! How many of you have flown to Australia to take a train? That’s right: none of you. You make ratpag sick.
Thankfully, effort is being made on both the state level, by the likes of Colorado state Senator Larry Crowder, as well as on the national level by “Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Mark Udall of Colorado,” to secure funding to keep the current route alive. ratpag will keep you posted on this developing story.