Newsletter 5/10/24: Don’t Break the Link Between Trains and Buses

Don’t Break the Link Between Buses and Trains

Does it surprise you that we care about bus service?

Buses aren’t fast, but they play an important role in a key concept called the Integrated Network Approach. Buses get travelers to and from communities not served by trains. This boosts train ridership and makes the whole system more useful and more valuable. California has an outstanding plan for this kind of integration, which includes buses serving high-speed trains. 

This is why we’re so concerned about the fate of Chicago’s bus hub. Chicago serves as a nationwide hub for trains—and train travelers are in danger of losing the option to connect with a nationwide bus hub just three blocks away from Union Station. 

Learn more about the issue here.

Illinois residents can take action here.

Passengers will roll-aboard luggage are crossing Harrison st. to enter the Chicago Greyhound station.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Talks Passenger Rail Investment

In a recent interview with Scripps News, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg commented on the future of intercity and high-speed rail:

“Rail opened up the West. It’s what made places like Montana and the whole American West really open up in the first place. So it makes sense for us to have excellent passenger rail for the future. The problem is we haven’t really invested in that in the last half-century. We’re seeing more and more visions, more and more projects. There’s the Big Sky Network right here trying to bring it to Montana. We’re providing some planning dollars to help them get some of their plans on to the drawing board. It’s early days for some of those visions. But there has been good passenger-service here before. There’s no reason we can’t have that in the future.

Meanwhile, other projects that are further along, like the Nevada one, are so exciting. That’s high-speed rail from Nevada to Southern California. They’re planning to be up and running by 2028. And it’s going to create a lot of good paying jobs along the way.”

Read the rest of Pete Buttigieg’s interview.

Read our 2021 rail focused agenda for Pete Buttigieg when he took office.

New Amtrak Board Nominations From Western States

Two new candidates for the Amtrak Board were recently nominated. Both nominees are from West of the Mississippi, which is an important step towards addressing the regional balance of the board, which has always been focused on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) at the expense of the rest of the network. 

Both nominees also have past railroad experience. Ron Batory is based in New Mexico and is the former Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration. Elaine Clegg is based in Boise and is a former Boise City Council Member, and currently serves as CEO of Valley Regional Transit. 

We are hopeful that nominees from outside the NEC will provide a stronger voice on Amtrak’s Board for passengers served by long-distance and state-supported routes. 

Read More:

Biden’s Nomination of Elaine Clegg

Ron Batory Nomination Potentially Changes Its Dynamic

Setting the Record Straight: Batory’s Nomination to Amtrak Board

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Lakeshore Rail Summit: Creating Transportation Oases

Save the date for this in-person meeting about the Lakeshore Corridor, hosted by the Lakeshore Rail Alliance

When: Thursday, June 13 at 1pm ET

Where: Blasco Memorial Library, Hirt Auditorium, Erie, Pennsylvania

We will share more information soon about how to sign up for this in-person meeting.

People boarding a high-speed train in Japan.

High-Speed Rail and the Construction of Space in 1960s Japan

When: Friday, June 28 at 12pm CT on Zoom

This talk will consider the bullet train in terms of the social construction of space—the ways in which people think about and use physical spaces—comparing government plans with public reactions to highlight the interaction between ideas and the built environment.

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