Time recently wrote a quick article about Amtrak’s plans to upgrade its free WiFi along the Northeast Corridor. Sounds good to us. The problem is that Amtrak currently picks up its internet signal through cellular towers which, as well all know, are already grossly overcrowded by everyone streaming YouPorn on their smartphones. We also all know that that isn’t going to change and, so, Amtrak is planning on building its own “trackside wireless network” which will have “speeds of up to 25 megabits per second in each car with plans to 100 Mbps by 2019.”
This all sounds wonderful. We question the accuracy of some of Time’s reporting based on this line describing Amtrak trains as “speeding along at 160 miles per hour” but, really, we’re hoping that not so much a typo but shared excitement of what one day will be.
We, of course, do not blame Amtrak for not being able to reach speeds of 160 miles per hour. No, we blame the government. Or, rather, certain people in the government. NARP emailed us today to share this blog post discussing amenities cuts and, more importantly, government funding for Amtrak. It seems the Senate has deemed Amtrak worthy of a freeze in funding and, so, have been allocated the same $1.39 billion as last year. We can only assume Congress has discovered a way to construct vital rail links for pennies on the dollar. Why else would they stubbornly refuse to grant greater funding to the growing railroad in need of major repairs and improvements to, in many places, over-100-year-old infrastructure?
And, finally, we turn away from rail and transit to discuss our latest pet project – the transportation cliff. The I-495 bridge in Wilmington, Delaware, carrying 90,000 vehicles per day, has been closed due to tilted support pillars and “won’t reopen anytime soon.” We won’t harp on this one – it may have been due to the soft organic clay that makes up the flood plain the bridge was built on – but such an important link being closed indefinitely certainly can be another good reason to increase transportation funding as this will, if nothing else, have to divert away from other important projects.