Time To Expand Amtrak, Cut Air Travel
Air travel has become a mess, with routine delays, cramped quarters and long lines. Federal government bailouts sweetheart local deals haven’t helped the airlines get their acts together.
It’s time for America to cut back on its air travel habit. It’s an extravagant waste for businesses to send employees into the air, flying across the country, for one day meetings that could be held over the telephone. Business air travel could be cut in half easily without any loss in productivity. In fact, there would likely be significant savings.
There would also be significantly less carbon pumped into the air. Sending a bunch of people surging at hundreds of miles per hour a mile high in the air just isn’t an efficient way to use energy to move.
Some long-distance travel is necessary, of course, and people ought to be able to get around and see the country. For that, people can use the train. The train is a much more enjoyable way to travel. There’s more leg space, and people are free to get up and walk, or use electronic devices, as they wish. Trains also use significantly less energy to get from one location to another, compared to airplanes. Moving from air travel to train travel is one way to cut a lot of carbon emissions.
It seems that the time is just right for America to expand passenger rail and reduce air travel. So, what have the Bush Republicans suggested in the proposed federal budget for 2009? They’ve proposed cutting Amtrak funding by 39 percent.