URGENT Action Needed TODAY for Solutionary Rail - Keep it in 2018 Transportation Budget in WA State

Friends of Solutionary Rail:
Your immediate and urgent action could make a HUGE difference in the future of rail in Washington State and beyond.  Contact the leadership of the Senate and House Transportation Committees TODAY.

 

Thanks to Senators Rebecca Saldaña and Maralyn Chase, we've finally made a bit of progress in the WA State Senate Transportation committee.  There's some fragile language in the Senate version of the supplemental budget that addresses our request for feasibility study of the Solutionary Rail approach, but does not fund the working group it creates and the investigation it requests. [See pages 47-49 of Senate supplemental budget. ]

Here is an excerpt of the Senate's supplement budget, Sect. 222, #3 on page 48 with the Solutionary Rail-related language:

"Within existing resources, the department shall convene a work group on the electrification of rail lines in Washington state. The work group shall be comprised of, but not limited to, railroad owners and operators, rail electrification experts, and financial experts. 
The work group shall:  

(a) Investigate the cost of electrification for freight and passenger rail;  
(b) Review the costs and benefits associated with electrification on the mainline north-south and east-west routes in Washington;  
(c) Determine whether a market business case may exist for electrification investments; and 
(d) Review potential funding sources and mechanisms.  
The department shall provide a report of its study findings to the governor and transportation committees of the legislature by June 30, 2019."
This is an EXCELLENT start!  That said, "Within existing resources" makes this an unfunded mandate that is unlikely to get through the reconciliation process - UNLESS the champions on the House and Senate side speak up for it. 

 

BUT the House version of the supplemental budget does NOT include this or any of this Solutionary Rail related language.   Sadly, as you can see on page 47 of the House Transportation supplemental budget, the House Supplemental doubles down (x3) with $900,000 MORE taxpayer dollars for a politically motivated, ultra high-speed boondoggle on behalf of the ultra rich Bill Gates. 
[I do not use "Boondoggle" lightly and that is not just my opinion.  It was the finding in multiple years of previous study that higher-speed rail at 110mph is the optimum speed for the North-South corridor (references here).  250mph is the highest cost option championed by special interests, who are not concerned with the public interest. The Transportation committee leaders know this and probably don't actually want to waste your taxpayer dollars, but feel pressure from the Governor's office and Bill Gates.]
That $900,000 should go to fund the rail electrification work group - NOT Bill Gates' boondoggle!
 
THE TIME IS NOW! Our last chance to fix this is in the budget reconciliation process.  Contact the leadership TODAY

HERE'S HOW:
  1. First, thank Senator Saldaña (Vice Chair) and Senator Chase and other members of the Senate Transportation Committee who have opened the door for Solutionary Rail, AND ask them to strengthen their support for the Solutionary Rail related rail electrification work group. (They have also resisted giving taxpayer money to the Gates/Inslee boondoggle.)

  2. Ask leadership of both the Senate and House Transportation committee to use the reconciliation process to bring this budget back from the brink of boondoggle with a smart investment in the study of Washington's sustainable transportation future. 

    Ask Senators Hobbs, Saldaña, and King AND their counterparts in the House, Representatives Clibborn, Fey, Wylie, and Orcutt to:

    1. Make sure the Rail Electrification Work Group is in the final supplemental transportation budget language.

    2. Provide the rail electrification work group the necessary resources to fulfill its mandate by re-allocating $900,000 from the House budget away from Governor/Gates boondoggle to the rail electrification work group.

    3. Require that the Ultra High Speed Rail group add the "higher-speed" (up to 110mph - already determined to be the optimum speed for the corridor) to their cost benefit analysis. 

    4. Mandate that Solutionary Rail be able to select at least two of the participants of the rail electrification working group.  (Don't let this effort be dominated by BNSF.) 
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
Please contact the offices of the Chairs, Vice Chairs, and Ranking Minority Members of the Senate and House Transportation Committees with this roadmap to common sense investment in Washington State's transportation future. 
Senate Transportation Leadership (Full Senate Transportation committee and staff contacts HERE)
Senators:
House Transportation Leadership:  (Full House Transportation committee and staff contacts HERE)
Representatives:
Thank you VERY MUCH for taking action.
PLEASE REPORT BACK about your contacts, calls and emails below.  
Forward Together!
Bill Moyer
Campaign Lead for Solutionary Rail

Showing 20 reactions

  • Jacob Leavitt
    commented 2018-03-05 21:44:18 -0800
    I sent an email to Judy Clibborn and one to Jake Fey.
  • Kurt Erlanson
    commented 2018-03-05 17:00:11 -0800
    Today (March 5), I telephoned Rebecca Saldana, and spoke to her assistant. I told her that I supported the Solutionary Rail plan to electrify our rail network. I also telephoned Maralyn Chase and the conversation was similar. I attempted to contact Judy Clibborn in the house but I got her answering machine. I left a message in which I urged that the house first consider the Solutionary Rail Plan before jumping into the high speed rail proposal.

    Kurt Erlanson
  • Kurt Erlanson
    commented 2018-03-05 16:47:16 -0800
  • Debby Jackson
    commented 2018-03-05 12:19:38 -0800
    I just wrote the following email to the Transportation leadership noted in your email:


    Dear Chairs, Vice Chairs, and Ranking Minority Members of the Senate and House Transportation Committees,


    As a supporter of public transportation, renewably sustainable high-speed electric railways for transporting people and goods, and Solutionary Rail, I am writing today to ask the leadership of both the Senate and House Transportation committee to use the reconciliation process to pass the state transportation budget with the following steps, which are a smart investment in the study of Washington’s sustainable transportation future.


    1. Make sure the Rail Electrification Work Group is in the final supplemental transportation budget language.


    2. Provide the rail electrification work group the necessary resources to fulfill its mandate by re-allocating $900,000 from the House budget away from the Governor/Gates proposal to the rail electrification work group.


    3. Require that the Ultra High Speed Rail group add the “higher-speed” (up to 110mph – already determined to be the optimum speed for the corridor) to their cost benefit analysis.


    4. Mandate that Solutionary Rail be able to select at least two of the participants of the rail electrification working group. (Don’t let this effort be dominated by BNSF.)

    And a big thanks to Senator Saldaña and Senator Chase and other members of the Senate Transportation Committee who have opened the door for Solutionary Rail. It is important that you strengthen your support for the Solutionary Rail related rail electrification work group.


    Thank-you all very much for your consideration of this matter, which is so important to the successful future of our state!


    Sincerely,

    Debby Jackson

    Vashon, WA 98070
  • Wendy Wharton
    commented 2018-03-05 11:35:27 -0800
    Backbone Campaign SHOULD RUN THE US GOVERNMENT, there would be no confusion!

    Thanks for your magnificent work and making it so easy to support you!

    Here is the letter that I sent to everyone on your list:

    Thanks for your WORK on the budget……I can imagine how hard it is.


    Solutionary Rail is an opportunity for Washington State to be inovative and first in yet another arena.

    We, collectively, cannot deny the need to convert to renewable resoures. It is just a matter of how and when.

    Please consider:

    #1. Make sure that the Rail Electrification Work Group is in the final language of the Senate final Supplemental Transportation budget (pages 47 to 49).

    #2. Re-allocate $900,000 to the Work Group.

    #3. Manate that Solutionary Rail be able to select at least two of the participants of the Working Group.

    Please fund a feasibility study for Solutionary Rail. I would even pay higher property taxes to fund the study and I am low income.


    Sincerely,

    Wendy Wharton

    29757 128th Ave SW

    Vashon, WA 98070

    206-463-4040
  • Edna and James Dam
    commented 2018-03-05 11:25:25 -0800
    I sent emails to the House and Senate leaders this morning.
  • Margot Boyer
    commented 2018-03-05 10:56:49 -0800
    Called Sen Hobs; spoke to aide. Sen Saldana: left message. Sen. King: spoke to aide. Rep Clibborn: left message. Rep Fey: spoke to aide. Gave them the bullet points & told them to listen to Bill M. when he shows up. Might yet call Reps. Wylie & Orcutt. This is a lot of freaking complexity to explain to an aide on the phone.
  • Margot Boyer
    commented 2018-03-05 10:53:47 -0800
  • Patricia Holm
    commented 2018-03-05 09:43:53 -0800
    I just called Chase and Soldana….
  • Debbie Cantrell
    commented 2018-03-05 08:23:13 -0800
    Called Hobbs and Saldana. Used your talking points 1-4. thanked Saldana for support so far… They were very nice and said they would pass it on. Thanks for making this so easy. I really only had 10 minutes before going to work….. I love you guys.
  • nancy corr
    commented 2018-03-04 18:51:11 -0800
    I called thefirst 2 on each list (it`s sunday evening now) AND LEFT MESSAGES AS DIRECTED.
  • Marilyn Kimmerling
    posted about this on Facebook 2018-03-02 15:06:32 -0800
    URGENT Action Needed on 2018 Transport Budget in WA. Retain rail electrification work group. Contact Leaders TODAY!
  • Norm Conraqd
    posted about this on Facebook 2018-03-02 13:53:56 -0800
    URGENT Action Needed on 2018 Transport Budget in WA. Retain rail electrification work group. Contact Leaders TODAY!
  • Norm Conraqd
    @TGHesOnlyGot140 tweeted link to this page. 2018-03-02 13:53:52 -0800
    URGENT Action Needed on 2018 Transport Budget in WA. Retain rail electrification work group. Contact Leaders TODAY! http://www.solutionaryrail.org/watrans2018?recruiter_id=373
  • Edna and James Dam
    followed this page 2018-03-02 13:53:44 -0800
  • Rob Briggs
    followed this page 2018-03-02 11:51:37 -0800
  • Patricia Robertsen
    followed this page 2018-03-02 11:11:19 -0800
  • Kathleen Myers
    followed this page 2018-03-02 10:54:53 -0800
  • Backbone Campaign posted about URGENT Action Needed TODAY for Solutionary Rail - Keep it in 2018 Transportation Budget in WA State on Backbone Campaign's Facebook page 2018-03-02 10:07:11 -0800
    URGENT Action Needed on 2018 Transport Budget in WA. Retain rail electrification work group. Contact Leaders TODAY!
  • @backboneprog tweeted this page. 2018-03-02 10:07:06 -0800
    URGENT Action Needed on 2018 Transport Budget in WA. Retain rail electrification work group. Contact Leaders TODAY! http://www.solutionaryrail.org/watrans2018?recruiter_id=6907
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