Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Extension Proposed for Saved Vermont Passenger Train

First, passenger rail advocates in Vermont persuaded their governor to continue to fund Amtrak's New York - Burlington Ethan Allen Express. Now they are looking to extend the run north to Burlington, the Green Mountain State's largest city.

"There is a groundswell and momentum building around this issue," Tom Torti, the director of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, told WCAX-TV. Torti says the move would promote tourism and decrease pollution.

The idea has the support of an important state legislator, Sen. Dick Mazza, the chair of the senate transportation committee, who led the fight to save the train. "If you ever want passenger rail in Vermont, this is going to be the successful passenger rail. People have been waiting for it. The infrastructure is here."

"Mazza points out that the rails have already been upgraded for a failed commuter service from Burlington to Charlotte. Extending passenger service to Burlington will still need rail upgrades from Vergennes to Rutland costing $30 million, but the federal funding is already approved."

Don't look for a start-up anytime soon. If all goes according to plan, it could be three years before the first run to Burlington.

1 comment:

  1. There are two reasons for this:
    1. The intrinsic logic of the proposal (the train currently stops short of the big population center.
    2. We've put together a broad based alliance that includes movers and shakers and we've turned out a lot of people at events and we worked the media.

    You too, can do these things in your own community.

    (More information is at www.railvermont.org)