Get pumped for the work week!
Your New Jersey correspondent was reading his morning newspaper and he came across this story from the Columbus Dispatch describing a party in Columbus, Ohio celebrating the opening of the Long Street overpass across I-71. Your correspondent certainly enjoys a good party – BAM! – four rail and transit reasons to have a party:
1. A new rail or transit line is opening in your region: If Ohio can have a party for opening a single overpass, imagine the celebration in Fairfax County for the opening of the Silver Line. Unfortunately for the car-free, Tyson’s Corner already had a party back in May – a bold move considering the many delays en route to its eventual opening this past Saturday. Perhaps you’d rather party some place more fun than Northern Virginia anyway: Plans are being made down in Florida to expand train service and, assuming all goes according to plan, we’re sure they’ll throw quite the party / provide footage for a special one-hour episode of COPS once it opens.
2. You parked your car and boarded a train: It’s always time to celebrate when you ride a train so imagine how much more you could celebrate if your previous mode of transportation was a car. Northern Virginia, ever the wet blanket, may be ending the party early on this one was three of the five Silver Line stations have no parking lots. Of course, like our friends at Fox 5 noted, those three stations are in the middle of the sea of parking that is Tyson’s Corner. Maybe the owners of these lots could provide pay parking for the train riders?
Parking at train stations isn’t just a NoVa issue. Our friends at CityLab reported on MARTA, Atlanta’s commuter rail service, pushing a plan to make money by developing commuter rail lots into mixed-use developments. So, celebrate when you leave your car and board the train…if you can find a place to park.
3. Someone is giving MONEY to your transit system: Now this one is hard to believe but Connecticut is trying to borrow THREE MILLION DOLLARS to make repairs on a Metro North Railroad bridge over the Norwalk River. If someone lent me $3 million I sure as shit would throw a party – they should too!
Of course, the party’s over if someone takes away your money. It looks like that may be the situation for small railroads in Tennessee. CSX, BNSF, Norfolk-Southern, and Illinois Central – the big railroads – are suing the state so they can stop paying a fuel tax that is used to pay for maintenance of the lines used by the smaller railroads. As in any legal matter, one side will win and one will lose. The good news is, even if the party ends for the smaller railroads it will be a win for the big guys – and just maybe they’ll throw a party. I know I would.
4. You are on a train to the beach: Do you, the readers, enjoy going to the beach? If you do, and you’re able to take the train there, then you should throw yourself a party for the good fortune that you have! And now you may have even more chances to take a train to the beach. The Florida East Coast Railroad is proposing a new station in West Palm Beach with service to Miami opening in late 2016. And, for those not lucky enough to go to Florida, rail service to the beach in Massachusetts is being further integrated into the transportation network. You can party up there too (just don’t you dare think about having happy hour)!