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Passenger Trains > Dukakis Visits SLO and SBA on AMTK


Date: 02/02/02 15:41
Dukakis Visits SLO and SBA on AMTK
Author: charlie

Getting this second hand, Dukakis (is he a gov or congressman right now on a transportation commitee ?) gave a speech Friday in Santa Barbara and then rode AMTK up to SLO and gave another one, saying that if AMTK got just 1% of the money afforded to all other segments funded (air/subway/hwy/etc), then the problem would not have arisen (refering to the press release). Then he went on about maglev being needed, and then the news coverage shows AMTK long haul action threatened for the cut in Oct...A SURFLINER being pushed! Wrong train. I think he rode up on #14 Friday from SBA to SLO, gave a pitch for mass transit funding, and the news crew issed the boat with what type of train Amtk is considering cutting.

I'm getting jaded in my impressions of news coverage in general. Whenever they cover anything I have any first hand knowledge about, seems like the info presented on the phosphoros tube is about 50% correct.

Charlie



Date: 02/02/02 16:50
Who is Dukakis??
Author: jachoochoo

charlie wrote:
>
> Getting this second hand, Dukakis (is he a gov or congressman
> right now on a transportation commitee ?)

Actually, as far as I know, he is still the acting Chairman of the Amtrak Board of Directors. (Effectively Warrington's bosses)

In essence, he and the other board members are the ones who have approved Amtrak's current stance!



Date: 02/02/02 17:21
Dukakis Speaks at RailPAC Meeting
Author: JohnThomas

Yes, Michael Dukakis, the former Governor of Massachusetts (who rode the T to work everyday, saved the whole T system from itself, and still uses public transit whenever possible) and failed Democratic Presidential candidate, is the Chairmain of Amtrak's Board of Directors, only since Tommy Thompson left the post to be Bush's HHS Secretary.

Today, Mr. Dukakis rode 776 from SBA to Santa Ana to speak at a meeting of the Rail Passengers Association of California. As a RailPAC Director, I had the honor and duty of meeting the man off the train and carrying his luggage. His presentation to the group was certainly representative of Amtrak's general attitude that the lack of capital funds from Congress over the years has led to the current state of the system.

Ironically, the speaker before Mr. Dukakis was President of the Minnesota Association of Railroad Passengers, Andrew Selden, who almost got Warrington's job when Downs resigned. Mr. Selden is a champion of the URPA (United Rail Passenger Alliance) school of thought, and characterized Amtrak's news yesterday as a political "temper tantrum," and that an acceptable and profitable national system could have been possible with the $24 billion Amtrak has received over the years. Moreover, cutting long-distance trains would be suicide, since it destroys the already skeletal national system and that, more importantly, THEY are the moneymakers and the CORRIDOR trains are the losers. Dukakis said the exact opposite, but agrees that a seemless national system is essential, and says Amtrak just needs adequate funding.

Both points of view must be taken with a grain of salt, for it will be a while before we can clearly see who's right about this. I still say that there's something unfair about the fact that the airways and highways will receive a combined subsidy of $45 billion next year, and Amtrak will theoretically get nothing (until they are somehow bailed out).

As for Mr. Dukakis, he's a very pragmatic, friendly, down to earth person. He truly wants the best for passenger rail and for the transit-riding and traveling public, and walks the walk by taking buses to and from LAX and within town whenever he comes to LA.



Date: 02/02/02 18:03
RE: Dukakis Speaks at RailPAC Meeting
Author: stash

JohnThomas wrote:
> As for Mr. Dukakis, he's a very pragmatic, friendly, down to
> earth person. He truly wants the best for passenger rail and
> for the transit-riding and traveling public, and walks the walk
> by taking buses to and from LAX and within town whenever he
> comes to LA.



Did he ride the train to LaLaLand from Massachusetts? LAX is both an airline code and Amtrak-ese for LA, so it's confusing. I'd just like to know if he really likes to ride Amtrak or is full of BS.



Date: 02/02/02 19:38
RE: Dukakis Speaks at RailPAC Meeting
Author: JohnThomas

stash wrote:
>
> Did he ride the train to LaLaLand from Massachusetts? LAX is
> both an airline code and Amtrak-ese for LA, so it's confusing.
> I'd just like to know if he really likes to ride Amtrak or is
> full of BS.

From what I understand, he can only take the train long distances when he has time. He rides Amtrak all the time here and in New England. I think the last time he took it cross-country was a couple years ago. You must understand the busy schedule he has, teaching at two universities, speaking at many meetings (as you see), chairing the Board of Directors of Amtrak, and any number of other political oriented things. But I think it's an ever bigger deal for him to be taking the bus from LAX (the airport) than to be taking transit from LAUS. Even I have never taken the bus to or from LAX. Green Line once, but never a bus. Always SuperShuttle.



Date: 02/02/02 23:12
RE: Dukakis Speaks at RailPAC Meeting
Author: ken15

Hi Matt:

Good synopsis of both presentations today.

As you know, I am now also a fellow Director and I think I asked some good questions of both participants.

Incidentally, I saw you, Ric and the Governor go out the side door and a number of us went out to the platform to catch Pacific Surfliner # 577 back to LA and points north but we didn't see any of you in the crowd.

Incidentally, one interesting thing about the meeting, Peter Warner didn't show up!!

ken15



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