Air Date: Week of March 10, 1995
Our story about the proposed cuts in Amtrak funding prompted an outpouring from our listeners.
CURWOOD: And now, it's time to hear from you, our listeners. After our recent story on cuts in Amtrak, your many calls and letters ran about 50 to 1 in favor of spending tax dollars on US passenger rail service. Craig Surman of Worcester, Massachusetts, wrote that he usually doesn't think about driving's hidden environmental or social costs. "We make so many choices out of convenience or expedience," Surman says, "without long-term vision for rising cancer rates and a depleted environment. Thanks for making me think once more about the rails that sit idle in this country."
CALLER: Hello, this is Earl Bowie in Pensacola, Florida. I would be opposed to government subsidies for Amtrak. The transportation industry needs to be weaned away from government subsidies including the highway system, and there's no reason to compound the problem by also giving government subsidies to the rail system. Thank you.
CURWOOD: But Susan Naimark of Boston says she'd be willing to pay taxes to keep trains. "Aside from the environmental benefit," she writes, "the train is one of the rare places where people of all ages, races, and economic circumstances mix. We need more, not fewer, places where people mix and get along, despite the differences between us."
Ted Arthur of Salem, Oregon, also wants Federal funding for Amtrak. He recently completed a safety course for older drivers. He says, "The number one suggestion was to use other modes of transport. Need I say more?"
And Anne Oehlschlaeger of Laconia, New Hampshire, worries about a country without passenger rail. She recalls a train trip to Florida during a blizzard. "The airports were closed. You wouldn't have wanted to drive. We got to Washington, D.C., late but with lights, heat, and we got there. Couldn't have done it any other way."
CALLER: My name is Helen Heaton. I'm calling from Bozeman, Montana. The Europeans have realized for generations that trains are important to the transportation system of the country. How long does it take Americans to catch on? We're behaving like adolescents who want to do nothing but drive fast cars.
CURWOOD: And Amy Johnson of Albuquerque adds that the problem with Amtrak is that too little money is put into it, not too much.
Finally, from Baltimore, C. Allen Bush writes, "In adding up the cost of driving, we should include the damage to brain cells of freeway travel. Travel by train helps to preserve the mind for better things."
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth