Trains for Climate - Amtrak Cascades Summer 2023 Update
Dear advocates for climate solutions and rail transit mobility in Washington State,
WE NEED YOUR HELP to get better Amtrak Cascades regional rail transportation this year!
“Start Writing” and the letter will be sent as written.
You can copy/paste the letter to your legislators in your own email instead,and personalize it if you want to. Sometimes letters are better received this way, and the links are active! The email address for any legislator is First.Last@leg.wa.gov
The link to the Governor's contact form is here.
Below is the letter to send as written, or to customize if you prefer to send from your own email:
Subject: Trains for Climate - Invest In Amtrak Cascades Rail Service Expansion
Dear (Senator or Representative, or Governor Inslee),
Please provide funding for critical improvements to the Amtrak Cascades program. The Point Defiance Bypass curve revision and the third track between Nisqually and Centralia are examples of projects that are just waiting to be built and that will improve reliability and shorten trip times on the corridor. These projects also benefit rail freight by fixing congestion, and they leverage the advantages of the eight new train sets expected to arrive in 2025. Those should be operating on improved infrastructure. It is also crucial that the I-5 Nisqually highway revision be coordinated with the rail revision as stipulated in the Long Range Plan for Amtrak Cascades (2006).
I am concerned about the WSDOT timeline for this state rail program. They're taking too long with the service development process and they have established another 20 years for completion of the program that was supposed to finished in 2018! This timeline unnecessarily delays crucial projects that can help us meet our 2030 climate goals of reducing vehicle miles traveled and reducing emissions. We need to be able to use federal funding opportunities while they are available. Please fund necessary rail infrastructure in the coming 2024 session.
We are still waiting for improvements such as hourly service with a minimum of 13 trains per day and reliable, shorter travel times between Seattle and Portland and Seattle and Vancouver BC. These goals must be realized within the next decade. With the climate crisis upon us, we cannot delay.
As you know, rail transportation uses only a third or less of any kind of power as compared with cars and trucks, and even when using diesel fuel, rail generates only a third or less of the emissions of comparable highway traffic per passenger mile, plus, we have the option to electrify our rail lines and yards and ports. Reducing transportation emissions is a crucial part of preventing worst case climate scenarios, and we are already behind schedule.
Please help our state address climate change with every means possible - by using our existing rail networks. If you have questions, please contact email@example.com.
Thank you for your attention.
Sincerely,(Your name and legislative district or affiliation)
ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS TO WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER:
The timeline for completing the Amtrak Cascades program is way too long. We need reliability and shorter trips and more trains asap.
By 2018 we were supposed to be doing 2.5 hours between Seattle and Portland, and 2.75 hours between Seattle and Vancouver BC. I don't want to wait 20 years for this route to be effective transportation.
I understand that WSDOT thinks 6 trains per day on the
Amtrak Cascades is enough. It's not nearly enough. To be effective
regional transit, we need at least double that number, and they need to
be faster and on reliable schedules. We can be going 110 mph on this
route and we should. That will require investment and we should be
getting federal money to make it happen.
Rail is a climate solution, and we need to do much better on improving our networks for near-term emissions reduction and energy savings.
We need better
regional mobility. It's an equity issue too because about 25% of
Washingtonians don't drive cars and need options. But our highways are
congested and dangerous. Please fund better regional rail service - the
Amtrak Cascades north-south corridor.
Encouraging more ridership will be economically and environmentally advantageous, and better utilizing our rail networks will mean a significant return on our investments.
Rail uses only 1/3 of any kind of energy and generates less than 1/3 greenhouse gas, as compared with equivalent highway transportation. We need to conserve where we can in seeking to electrify everything. Developing rail is a good way to conserve energy and also reduce emissions.