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Media Focused on Passenger Rail

On Monday, a major story for NBC Nightly News reported that mass transit ridership has reached a 50 year high but it “may not be ready for all the Americans leaving their cars behind and hopping on for the ride.”

On Sunday, James Howard Kunstler called for fixing and expanding the rail system in an editorial for the Washington Post:

Fixing the U.S. passenger railroad system is probably the one project we could undertake right away that would have the greatest impact on the country’s oil consumption. The fact that we’re not talking about it – especially in the presidential campaign — shows how confused we are. The airline industry is disintegrating under the enormous pressure of fuel costs. Airlines cannot fire any more employees and have already offloaded their pension obligations and outsourced their repairs. At least five small airlines have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past two months. If we don’t get the passenger trains running again, Americans will be going nowhere five years from now.

We don’t have time to be crybabies about this. The talk on the presidential campaign trail about “hope” has its purpose. We cannot afford to remain befuddled and demoralized. But we must understand that hope is not something applied externally. Real hope resides within us. We generate it – by proving that we are competent, earnest individuals who can discern between wishing and doing, who don’t figure on getting something for nothing and who can be honest about the way the universe really works.