To the editor:
Having signed the Mayoral Climate Protection Agreement, it is important for the City of Lawrence to take advantage of every opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the transportation sector. Recently the City Commission was asked to give its moral support to a transportation project that would extend passenger rail service between Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita, Oklahoma City and Dallas (Journal-World, Feb. 15). Commissioners should remember that trains move more people while producing less greenhouse gas than the same people traveling in many automobiles.
The proposed expansion of the Northern Flyer route can both bolster the economy and help protect our climate through transportation emissions reduction. It is an opportunity that should not be passed up. Because the current administration has drastically cut its funding to them each year, Amtrak is forced to continue to share tracks with commercial freight trains. Therefore, half of Amtrak's delays are caused by freight trains.
Passenger rail delays are the result of shortsighted government leaders who won't support public services. Roads need government support, and so do passenger rails. With support from the states and local governments, passenger rail services could make a comeback, bolstering the economy while offering a partial solution to climate control.
City commissioners should offer their moral support to the Northern Flyer Alliance for their visionary, hard work to secure funding and creative transportation solutions that not only reduce costly sprawl but protect the climate at the same time.