Passenger trains and tracks with a 30 mph limit belong in a museum. Of course the Dupont derailment on Dec. 18 needs continued investigation. But are we really satisfied with a train technology that is in many ways more than 100 years behind? The numbers say no: only 80 people rode the train that day, and a typical Monday for Alaska Airlines sees over 2,000 seats available on direct flights from Sea-Tac to Portland airport.
Our part of the country is growing. We have Amazon and Microsoft and several military bases. The Zeppelin is not coming back, so think of an alternative to air and road travel. High-speed electric trains comfortably whisk you across country at more than 150 mph. The investment takes guts and sacrifice, but will boost the economy, help the military, the business traveler, the tourist industry, the student, and even car lovers and city planners as highways de-congest.
One can enjoy modern train travel in Japan, Italy, China, and many other countries. Washington state exports jet planes that zip around the world, but so far we have refused high-speed rail that would reduce air pollution, add to our export portfolio, and employ a horde of workers for something useful. Let’s get on board.