Blog

Your daily source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the weekly NARP Hotline.

All Transportation is Local

Written By Colin Leach Loyola Avenue Streetcar (Photo by New Orleans City Business) Washington’s current dysfunction has left many transit advocates disheartened about prospects for funding today’s needs and doubtful of any long-term commitment. Budget battles present stark contrasts between grand visions of massively increased federal investment and a huge scaling back of the same, leaving little room for the real action required to address the nation’s transportation needs. What, the

Top Train Facts for Earth Day 2014

Written By Jenna Jablonski Often what's good for people is good for the planet, too. That’s why we’re celebrating trains today. Trains are a travel choice that’s all around responsible. They ensure mobility for America’s growing population while minimizing harmful impact on America’s beautiful and vital natural resources. Here are the top reasons why trains are worth celebrating on Earth Day: 1. Trains are 17% more efficient than planes and 34% more efficient than cars. They’re

What Do Young People Seek in a Place to Live... and Stay?

Written By Jenna Jablonski The boardwalk at Long Beach, NY. (Photo by Long Island Press) We’ve long known that young people are choosing to live in cities in increasing numbers. Recent research shows that beyond just moving to urban areas, they’re staying put, and “settling down” is no longer synonymous with “suburbs.” The reasons for this trend are up for debate. Some say relatively poor job prospects have young adults pushing off families and home ownership. Others call the al

Parochial Politics Shouldn't Stop Statewide Progess

Written By Colin Leach One of the more exciting ventures in American passenger rail today is All Aboard Florida’s proposal to offer passenger rail service between Orlando and Miami. The service, which will complement Amtrak’s existing long-distance trains in the same corridor, will offer Floridians an excellent alternative to Interstate 95 and promises to jumpstart economic growth in Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. However, like many other proposed passenger rail ser

How Valuable is the Northeast Corridor to Our Economy?

Written By Sean Jeans Gail When looking at infrastructure investment—especially for megaprojects that cross multiple jurisdictions—it’s important to look at the case business case for investment. How much will this project cost to complete? What are the alternatives? What is the cost of not improving this infrastructure? This type of business case is imperative for the Northeast Corridor (NEC), which needs to find $52 billion in capital investment over the next 20 years just to maintai

High Speed Rail in the Lone Star State's Future

Written By Colin Leach If Texas Central Railway succeeds in building its high speed line, you can expect to see American copies of the Japanese N700 speeding between Dallas/Fort Wortth and Houston. Licensed through Wikimedia Foundation. When Americans think of high speed rail, we’ve typically thought of Amtrak’s Acela Express on the Northeast Corridor. More recently, we’ve also thought about California’s ongoing construction of a 220 mph line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, wh

Chinese Travelers Flock to the Rails

Written By Henry Scherck Photo from Inhabit.com With new equipment and hundreds of miles of dedicated right of way, Chinese high-speed rail has begun to cut into airline profits. Earlier this year, China’s Xinzheng International Airport became the site of a massive riot. Angry airline customers swarmed the airport, removing machines and strewing them about the concourse. Police struggled to keep the crowd in check as customers scrambled over ticket counters and entered staff offices. The

Protect America's Passengers From Amtrak-Killing Cuts

Written By Sean Jeans Gail Representative Paul Ryan’s plan to eliminate all funding for Amtrak operations earlier this week (part of a larger budget proposal) is, sadly, part of an all too predictable trend: a leading House Republican argues to eliminate funding to Amtrak because it doesn’t make money—all while failing to apply that same standard to roads and highways. It’s certain that by starving Amtrak of funds, the Wisconsin Congressman’s plan would kill the railroad, denying a

“There Are Three Kinds of Lies: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics"

Written By Jim Loomis Originally published on Travel and Trains and Other Things by Jim Loomis The people who fuss and fume because passenger rail in the U.S. is subsidized will acknowledge (if pressed) that all public transportation is subsidized. And they will also concede, albeit grudgingly, that the roughly $1.5 billion that Amtrak gets every year from the federal government is a tiny fraction of one percent of the annual budget. But oh how they love to point out that the subsidy Amtrak g

NARP Welcomes New Policy Intern Henry Scherck

Written By Sean Jeans Gail NARP is pleased to welcome Union College student Henry Scherck onboard as a policy intern. Henry is a lifelong passenger train advocate, and will be helping us carry out our mission to build a modern U.S. passenger train network this spring and summer. Hello! My name is Henry Scherck and I am going to be a policy intern here at NARP this spring! I have long been interested in passenger rail, and I am really excited to be working here at NARP. I come from Slingerlan