Why do we keep having the same arguments over and over in New Mexico – argumetns long since resolved just about every place else? Why are the accepted, sensible policies of most of the civilized world considered pie-in-the-sky fantasies in the Land of Enchantment?
Passenger rail transportation is making a comeback all over the United States and the rest of the world. We are in deep trouble if we don’t soon start moving toward multi-modal transportation – all modes working together as a system. Not millions of stalled, crawling and expensive cars with a few buses and bike paths tossed in, but a true set of choices, including everything from trains to feet.
Multi-modal transportation for New Mexico must include rail. Buses – big, small, private, public – are an important part of the picture but are not enough. Here are some reasons why this is so:
- Regional communter rail is cheaper and easier to achieve than most people think.
- Municipal light reail is not all that expensive when compared to road and highway expansions.
- Fuel consumption per passenger/mile is amazingly low when compred to cars and also very low when compared to buses.
- Easy compliance with clean air standards at any altitude.
- Independence from most traffic problems.
- No tire maintenance and disposal problem.
- Much more efficient use of land and materials per passenger/mile.
- Close compatibility with all other modes of transportation and with renewable energy systems.
- A smoother, quieter and much safer ride.
- A higher rate of financial return at the fare box.
- People like to ride trains.