In the January/February 2010 issue of Arrive magazine, now-President-elect Joe Biden wrote:

“With delays at our airports and congestion on our roads becoming increasingly ubiquitous, volatile fuel prices, increased environmental awareness, and a need for transportation links between growing communities, rail travel is more important to America than ever before.

“Support for Amtrak must be strong — not because it is a cherished American institution, which it is — but because it is a powerful and indispensable way to carry us all into a leaner, cleaner, greener 21st century.

“Consider that if you shut down Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, it is estimated that to compensate for the loss, you’d have to add seven new lanes of highway to Interstate 95. When you consider that it costs an average of $30 million for one linear mile of one lane of highway, you see what a sound investment rail travel is. And that’s before you factor in the environmental benefits of keeping millions and millions of cars off the road.”

From now on, Minnesota and Wisconsin citizens must use our collective voices to tell the elected representatives in our cities, states, and federal offices to support new infrastructure bills that create new rail and Amtrak lines in our states. New lines are needed to get people to work, increase mobility, and combat climate change.

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Additionally, these new transit lines would take thousands of cars off Minnesota and Wisconsin highways every day while also reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by many tons. Even those who will never ride Amtrak lines can support having these lines built.

Remember, in a representative democracy, the real power is yours to use to build a better future. Building more trains and more park-and-ride lots would benefit ourselves and future generations.

James Patrick Buchanan