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A Proposal: Stimulus for Passenger Rail in Montana

10:15 AM PST on March 6, 2009

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we turn to member blog Trains for America,
which looks at the idea of using  stimulus funds to bring
rail-equipment manufacturing -- and expanded passenger rail service --
to the state of Montana:

2038458579_25a7a8cb62.jpgPhoto by Katie via Flickr.

[N]ew
rail passenger equipment is coming to America and it should be built by
Americans. Why not Montana? It may be that there are good reasons why
not, but those should also lead us to the better place, if there is
one.

Restoring the southern leg of the Empire Builder in Montana
and North Dakota is a great idea. As a former resident of Big Sky
Country, let me tell you that it is tough to get around up there in
winter -- which is most of the year. There exists a real social need
for transportation service of the type government is obliged to
provide. This restored service has numerous points to recommend its
consideration.

The post also takes issue with the use of the term "railroad enthusiasts" in an Associated Press story on the rail proposal:

[A]note to the fine folks at the Associated Press. People who promote ground transportation are not “enthusiasts.”  Such terms arepejorative, bordering on verbal abuse. Many professionals make a livingdoing this kind of thing, and while they may not quite measure up tothe academic rigors of a reporter, they still deserve respect. Yourchoice of words suggests a serious bias. Suggested alternatives:advocates, railroaders, citizens, taxpayers.

The
depiction of advocates of anything but automobile transportation as
somehow childish or fanatical is an ongoing problem. Have any recent
examples of media outlets that should be called out on this? Leave them
in the comments.

Elsewhere around the network, the Orange County Transit Blog details forthcoming service cuts, The Infrastructurist explains how American traffic jams are like Soviet bread lines, and Making Places reports on Seattle's new "Streets for People" campaign.

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