Write to Your Local Paper

 

Speak up for Amtrak and High-Performance Passenger Trains

 

Amtrak's growing ridership, which is on pace to set a new record for the fourth straight year, is constrained by the available capacity of the railroad's aging and stretched-thin fleet of locomotives and cars. New, modern equipment would immediately be put to use giving more Americans the freedom to travel despite rising gas prices and airfares and worsening road congestion.

Meanwhile, tracks and signal systems that transport hundreds of Americans each day -- and could transport hundreds more -- are in great need of improvement. But the amount of money the federal government has so far made available to states to do this work -- while it is producing remarkable results -- has been wholly inadequate to meet the overwhelming need for even modest upgrades after years of underinvestment.

Congress -- made up of elected officials who work for us -- holds the purse strings that determine what kind of transportation choices Americans are able to enjoy today and in the future. As they make funding decisions for the next fiscal year (starting October 1), they are going to be faced with a host of competing priorities for scarce resources. Help us convince them that putting the highest possible dollar amounts in passenger rail accounts represents an investment in the country's continued prosperity that will be paid back in a variety of ways.

Take a few minutes to compose a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, using our pre-written talking points (or creating your own), making the case for much-needed investments in the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail grant program (for states to make rail infrastructure upgrades for faster, more reliable service) and in Amtrak's capital programs. Be sure to mention your Senators and Representative by name -- which ensures that they or their staff will see it and recognize that there is constituent support for trains; each letter to the editor is assumed to represent the opinion of 50 to 100 citizens.