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A Proposal: Stimulus for Passenger Rail in Montana

10:10 AM EST on March 6, 2009

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we turn to member blog Trains for America, which looks at the idea of using  stimulus funds to bring rail-equipment manufacturing -- and expanded passenger rail service -- to the state of Montana:

2038458579_25a7a8cb62.jpgPhoto by Katie via Flickr.

[N]ew rail passenger equipment is coming to America and it should be built by Americans. Why not Montana? It may be that there are good reasons why not, but those should also lead us to the better place, if there is one.

Restoring the southern leg of the Empire Builder in Montana and North Dakota is a great idea. As a former resident of Big Sky Country, let me tell you that it is tough to get around up there in winter -- which is most of the year. There exists a real social need for transportation service of the type government is obliged to provide. This restored service has numerous points to recommend its consideration.

The post also takes issue with the use of the term "railroad enthusiasts" in an Associated Press story on the rail proposal:

[A] note to the fine folks at the Associated Press. People who promote  ground transportation are not “enthusiasts.”  Such terms are pejorative, bordering on verbal abuse. Many professionals make a living doing this kind of thing, and while they may not quite measure up to the academic rigors of a reporter, they still deserve respect. Your choice of words suggests a serious bias. Suggested alternatives: advocates, railroaders, citizens, taxpayers.

The depiction of advocates of anything but automobile transportation as somehow childish or fanatical is an ongoing problem. Have any recent examples of media outlets that should be called out on this? Leave them in the comments.

Elsewhere around the network, the Orange County Transit Blog details forthcoming service cuts, The Infrastructurist explains how American traffic jams are like Soviet bread lines, and Making Places reports on Seattle's new "Streets for People" campaign.

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