To say that the situation regarding passenger rail financing and policy making is fluid would be an understatement. Looking back over thirty years of advocacy I find it hard to recall a time when passenger trains were such an ideological issue. But I won’t get into a political discussion in this forum. Instead let’s think about knowledge and education. Let’s start with a question. Do those that are vehemently against funds for passenger trains know what they are talking about? Do they understand the economics of rail versus other modes? IF NOT, WHY NOT?
The answer? RailPAC, NARP, and all the other advocacy groups have not done enough. It’s plain to see that our small efforts, carried out by volunteers in their free time, are easily overshadowed by well oiled propaganda machines of the many lobbyists and factions that think differently to us. We haven’t had the time and resources to educate elected officials and other opinion formers about the benefits of a passenger rail network.
What is to be done? We have to grow. We have to recruit more members, we have to strengthen our list of industry sponsors, we have to MAKE MORE NOISE.
The first step is for you, our core group of members, to attend our annual meeting and learn from the experts we have gathered together. Where do we stand with state funding? What are Amtrak’s and Metrolink’s plans? How can NARP be more effective in Washington? What is really happening with the high speed rail program? How can RailPAC make a difference?
It’s up to you. If you really care about passenger rail services in California and throughout the country then stand up and be counted. Come to Los Angeles March 19th, support our event, help elect the new Board, raise some funds for our work, meet like minded folks and go away energized for what will be a tough year not just to advance our agenda but to hold on to the progress we have made these past two decades.
See you there!