Not one dime for a railroad extension to the Lower 48 through Canada. An extension everybody wants — my random verbal poll over 10 years shows 250 people (100% of those polled) are in total agreement they would use the train as an option to flying and driving Outside.
The only caveat was it wasn’t too costly. All would pay at least $1,000 to $1,250 round-trip, which would include a sleeper, food and an optional cost to have your vehicle loaded on board. I stopped polling after 250 because it was obvious the next 5,000-plus would agree. The Lower 48 Amtrak is waiting to take us to Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Florida and Arizona. What a ride!
We know what’s happened in the past to the ferry business. In 10 years it’ll be bankrupt again, but a railroad has many uses. It can haul mineral freight and people southward and haul people and building materials plus foodstuffs northward at a far cheaper price than what we are paying for freight now. I’m not against improving our ferry service — we do need upgrades to serve our outlying areas.
And by the way, the tracks exist right now in Canada waiting for Alaska to hook up with theirs. We have the money now, so let’s get off the rock and build a line and hook up to Canada’s line.
To Tim Sullivan over at the Alaska Railroad, who said to me some years ago, “it doesn’t pencil out,” well Tim, now it pencils out, so go get the railroad’s share of this infrastructure money and build the tracks. All aboard!
Have something on your mind? Send to email@example.com or click here to submit via any web browser. Letters under 200 words have the best chance of being published. Writers should disclose any personal or professional connections with the subjects of their letters. Letters are edited for accuracy, clarity and length.