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Stand up for our trains

I don’t have to tell you how important our Empire Builder is up here on the Hi-Line. For that matter, nationally, Amtrak ridership continues to set records and many of their trains are running full. With the growing population, along with fuel prices, we need more, not fewer, trains. Yet an Appropriations subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a spending plan for fiscal 2012 (and that actually began last month, October 1st) that: cuts Amtrak’s operating assistance by some 60%, has no funding for much needed high-speed rail, and prohibits using federal funds for state-supported short-distance trains…ending passenger service in 15 states. I’m not going to mention what political party I feel is behind this ludicrous deal, but I’m sure it’s not My-Man-Obama! Now is the time for all of us to help defend Amtrak. I encourage you to call Representative Denny Rehburg’s Washington D.C. office at 202 224 3121. Next year’s an election year you know. Also visit act.narprail.org to learn more and send an email to Capitol Hill. This National Association of Railroad Passengers is the largest citizen-based organization representing train and rail transit users. They ‘re seeking a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans and Montanans want. Over 23,000 individual members support their work and I’m going to look into joining myself. Right here on the Hi Line, we can talk to our fellow train riders and others about the threat to trains brewing on Capitol Hill, and the need for increased investment in passenger trains. In my opinion, Amtrak needs MORE, not less money, and our government has continually short changed them for years. How CAN Amtrak operate to their full potential when they are constantly either short changed or given “just enough to get by?” I guess it’s hard to run a railroad when you’re fighting two or three wars! It goes without saying that the Empire Builder is our lifeline, not to mention the employment it brings to the Golden Triangle. This house subcommittee’s 2012 budget would end most Amtrak service and we certainly don’t want that. In the meantime, ALL ABOARD!

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