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Original message: Change is in the air. Current events are increasing demand for passenger rail service along the American Rocky Mountain Front Range Corridor. This heighten pressure may now be large enough to convince once reluctant rail executives that this market might soon be profitable, especially if renewable energy sources are used. Now is the time to lobby the public, and urge them to demand that lawmakers break the logjam of doubt and hesitation blocking implementation of large scale solar and wind projects such as this. Job creation, National Security, and reduction of Greenhouse gases are critical concerns that could be resolved by immediate action on this topic. While traveling by bus is currently a more affordable choice, trains offer several advantages: • Today’s railroad locomotives are actually electric motors run by Diesel engine powered electricity generators. Fitted with rechargeable batteries, these machines could also be fueled by windmills and banks of solar panels located above, alongside, or short distances from the rail routes. As a result, trains would eventually become cheaper to operate than buses • On a train, a person can walk around to stretch their legs, perhaps stopping for something to eat in a dining car • Seats on European train cars can be rotated in pairs to face the set behind, allowing a more enjoyable ambiance for small groups. Buses have not yet adopted this option. available in the US • Sleeping compartments haven’t yet been designed for commercial bus travel Let’s hear it for Sol-trains! Previous plans for a Front Range commuter line were prohibitively expensive, due mainly to the cost of buying privately owned property on the eastern plains of Colorado on which to lay the track. To avoid this expense, why couldn’t the Burlington Northern Santa Fe or the Union Pacific railroads use their existing rail network? Presently, coal trains pass through Colorado Springs, north and south, many times each day. Until the alternative energy grid is brought online, how hard would it be to attach a passenger car, or two, at the back of a one of these? The coupling mechanism for passenger cars and freight cars are different. Yet, is this not America? Surely a clever engineer could design an inexpensive, safe, convenient adaptor that would allow cross connection of different types of cars. Existing transportation law may forbid the practice of mixing car types, but again, isn’t this America? Why not change these regulations? In a Democracy, it is the popular vote of the people that makes the law. If modifications to the current practices were made, the Rail industry might be able to take advantage of several new and growing issues and populations, identified below, which are escalating the need for a Rocky Mountain Front Range passenger rail system. 1. The Middle East is again a tinderbox, ready to ignite. The turmoil in Syria, Egypt and a growing possibility of war to prevent a nuclear Iran, may result in the closures of the Suez Canal and/or the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, sending oil prices skyward. Furthermore, the socio-political environments of two nearby sources of petroleum, Mexico and Venezuela, are by no means rock solid. In the face of events beyond our control, having a back-up, public transportation system would be a reasonable investment in the stability of our economy. 2. Jobs created by building banks of solar panels and windmills would help the economy and possibly be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 3. If the ARRA legislation is no longer applicable, voters could approve new funding requests. 4. Former riders of the Front Range Express bus line (FREX) are still seeking substitute commuter transportation, after it was eliminated from the failing Colorado Springs city budget. Furthermore, the bad job situation locally is forcing additional numbers of our residents to seek employment in Denver. 5. Similar growth of the commuter population in the cities of Longmont, Loveland, Greeley, and Ft. Collins, would also increase demand for train usage. Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming are probably being similarly affected. 6. Obviously, sports fans from Colorado Springs would love to catch a train to Denver to see the Rockies, Broncos, Nuggets, Avalanche, or Rapids, without the hassles of parking. In the interest of decreasing traffic problems in the Denver Metro area on game days, not to mention promoting cleaner air and saving fuel, perhaps those organizations could be convinced to offer discounts on ticket prices to people using mass transit. 7. Funding made available for improving infrastructure under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 may still be available to help with construction needed to link existing lines to new locations. 8. Federal money may also be available to help subsidize the cost of purchasing rail cars needed for commuter service up and down the Front Range. 9. Train stations would help to create business centers in downtown business districts of Front Range cities, many of which are deserted and dilapidated. Revival and even growth might soon follow in these run-down regions of town. Again, Federal dollars might be available for a limited time to subsidize these buildings. 10. The impending implementation of Hillarycare (let’s give credit/blame where it is due!) may bring big changes to the driving habits of affected citizens, young and old. As a reasonable alternative to staying home nights and weekends, broke because they are now burdened with the additional expense of purchasing health insurance, many of these people may decide to drop their auto coverage and start using public transportation in order to “Keep on Trucking”. 11. Even the income levels of employed, average Americans continues to fall, due to companies shifting to a part-time workforce in order to avoid the Hillarycare mandated, compulsive coverage of full time employees. As Americans grow increasingly poor, more and more of them may decide that trains are no longer “on the wrong side of the tracks”. 12. The United States Department of Agriculture recently estimated the average cost of raising a child to be between $12,600 and $14,700 per year. As young people, already struggling in a bad economy, begin to encounter the staggering costs of raising children, many may find that their cars no longer grant them independence, but instead have become weighty financial anchors. Poor young parents may begin shifting to Mass Transit instead of shifting into Drive. 13. The extensive population of Mexican immigrants found working throughout the area, numbering in the millions, is another overlooked and growing potential group of rail users. Increasingly, they are gaining financial prosperity, as a result of their green card jobs. Due to looming immigration reform legislation, many more may soon move into the upper levels of the working class. Most of these people have relatives in Mexico, whom they visit on a regular basis. Currently, because a well-developed domestic bus network is available in Mexico, many of these guests travel back home by bus. If it were available, however, they might choose to upgrade and take a train to El Paso. 14. A “Ski Train” from Denver, over Vail pass to the resorts beyond, is not a new idea. However, these scenic destinations are increasingly catering to summer guests as well. This is encouraging vacationers from destinations up and down the Front Range to ride the rails, year round. 15. Residents of mountain towns might grow to find the new Ski Train a convenient way to ride into Denver and back for shopping, entertainment, medical treatment and other personal visits. 16. Excursions by train are becoming more and more popular with vacationers seeking alternatives to ocean travel, most notably, retirees. Currently, the Rocky Mountaineer Railway in Canada books seats on double-decker coaches traveling through beautiful scenery. Steel-Wheeled cruise lines are becoming the rage. Landlocked residents of the Great Plains might want to join the fun on these Landlubber Love Boats. 17. A new energy boom is fueling the growth of towns along the empty, northern reaches of the Rocky Mountain Front Range corridor in Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas, as well as in the desolate wastelands of west Texas and Oklahoma. A parched thirst is welling up within newly well-off oil workers, for someplace to go to soothe their burning, downtime boredom. Work schedules, which include furloughs of 7 to 10 days, after working 2 weeks straight, are the normal routine for these “roughnecks”, but there are few outlets for entertainment in the backwater boomtowns where they are employed. These lusty men could afford fares to travel by rail coach to court the ladies of Denver and Colorado Springs. What’s more, the married men among them might wish to bring their wives and children out to the hinterlands for a visit with Dad. 18. Participation levels in intercollegiate sports have reached an all time high. Teams of men and women regularly travel up, down and across the Front Range on weekly basis, nearly year round. Even High Schools compete with out-of-town, cross state rivals. In a time of chronically stressed budgets, purchasing train fare may be a reasonable alternative to chartering airplanes, busses and vans or maintaining their own transportation fleets. 19. Large groups of fans might also follow along, especially for rivalries such as CU-ASU, CSU - Air Force, Wyoming – New Mexico, DU-CC, UNC-Montana, CSU/Pueblo- New Mexico Highlands, Colorado Mines – Adams State, UCCS-Metro State, Regis – Chadron State, Colorado Christian – Black Hills State. 20. Finally, hundreds of college students at institutions along the Front Range, especially underclassmen, regularly trek home on weekends to visit family and party with former High School friends. Many can get by on campus without a
   
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