"Rail electrification, as proposed in this remarkable book, is that rarest of things: a genuinely new idea, and one that makes immediate gut sense." (From the foreword to the book)
~ Bill McKibben, renowned climate activist, author and co-founder of 350.org
"Don’t miss this provocative book! The time is now for big picture solutions like railroads powered by renewables."
~ Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, author of Frackopoly and Foodopoly.
"While corridor concepts go back generations, your group has brought fresh ideas as to what a future corridor might look like. Without new concepts to stimulate innovation, progress stagnates. Solutionary Rail provides something tangible for all stakeholders to consider and to build on. Congratulations to your team for taking the corridor challenge, putting pen to paper, and producing a finished work."
~ Mike Elliott, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen
“Electrification is not only our best option for passenger rail travel but also for freight rail. Both are commonplace throughout the rest of the industrial world. With analytical rigor, Backbone Campaign's Solutionary Rail Team shows how we can break through barriers to bring mass rail electrification to the U.S. This is an indispensable book for everyone curious about how to move people and good long distances at high speed in a carbon-constrained world.”
~ Denis Hayes, President, Bullitt Foundation; principal national organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970, and original director of Solar Energy Research Institute, now National Renewable Energy Laboratory
"Our continued reliance on extractive industries is untenable and unjust. Solutionary Rail provides a wonderful example of how tackling problems systemically—and planning long-term, on a regional scale—opens up tremendous opportunities. By reinvesting in electrified rail, shippers and passengers can enjoy higher speeds, more predictable schedules, and increased efficiency. Renewable resources—like Great Plains wind—can flourish as rural energy cooperatives and Native American utilities gain access to distant markets. Collectively, we can begin to restore the commons by investing in publicly-owned electrification infrastructure and high-speed tracks. And railroad workers can secure a “just transition” building a greener economy. Combining bold thinking with on-the- ground problem solving, Solutionary Rail helps us imagine what’s next."
~ Gar Alperovitz,
author of What Then Must We Do? (and many more books), President of the National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives, co-founder of the Democracy Collaborative
and Co-Chair of the The Next System Project
"Gil Carmichael gave us the concept in 1999. RAIL Solution later provided a logo, a brand name, and a website. Now Solutionary Rail has contributed a valuable next step in this fine work drawing together in one place a comprehensive statement of the benefits of electrification and the Steel Interstate."
~ David Foster, executive director at RAIL Solution
"The railroads were the engine that built the commercial heart of America. Lincoln foresaw how the transcontinental railroads would be crucial to uniting a continental country, and subsequent advances such as the telegraph were therefore enabled. The concepts laid out in “Solutionary Rail” show that once again railroads can lead the way from the fossil fuel based society to an electric society dominated by renewable energy and more energy-effective commercial transportation."
~ Alexander E. MacDonald, President of the American Meteorological Society, Retired Director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory
"Solutionary Rail is a visionary demonstration project that will not only help keep fossil fuels in the ground, Solutionary Rail will catalyze an economic renaissance in rural communities along the line. What an elegant solution. Read this book and get inspired to create a more sustainable future!"
~ Luther Propst, Founder, Sonoran Institute, board member, George B. Storer Foundation.
"Extreme extraction and the transport of fossil fuels has been devastating for Indigenous peoples in the U.S., Canada and around the world. Railroads have been a tool of colonization, the political takings of indigenous lands and genocide. Indigenous peoples have however persevered despite all odds. A new era of Indigenous Peoples rising up in strategic resistance in defense and protection of the sacredness of Mother Earth is taking place from the North to the Global South. It is renewing humanity, guiding it away from self-destruction all across this continent and specifically in the corridor from the Great Lakes, across the prairie lands, the Rockies, to the Salish Sea.
"The seventh generation principle and responsibilities to the rights of Mother Earth-Nature is not some abstract, romantic idea, but an ethic for survival of communities, the environment and all Life. Solutionary Rail taps into that spiritual challenge to change course and returns with a transformative vision for redeeming railroads and a society addicted to their dangerous cargo. Indigenous and non-indigenous rural communities can be part of this solution by powering these trains and their communities with renewable energy, and transmitting the surplus to the cities. So, when on behalf of future generations there is so much to which we must fiercely say 'No!' - Solutionary Rail offers us something to which we can all proudly say 'Yes!'"
~ Tom Goldtooth,
Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental www.ienearth.org
“Agriculture was started and sustained by high quality transportation and now transportation, especially rail, is heavily sustained by the largest user of the US transportation network, agricultural traffic and attendant revenue streams. Public participation in all modes has historical precedent: rail land grants, highway funding and waterway development. But the issue now is the historical efficiency and sustainability of fossil fueled rail transport. The proposition of electrically powered railroads offers agriculture a more positive future, since electricity may be cost effective, is environmentally appealing and offers a future of high capacity and fast service, leading to environmental and economic sustainability. Agriculture critically needs railroads and railroads need agriculture.”
~ Kenneth Casavant, Director, Freight Policy Transportation Institute, Washington State University
"The positive impacts of implementing Solutionary Rail are much broader than first meets the eye. It could very well help resolve existing stalemates on dam removal by giving farmers the confidence that they will have the rail capacity to get their grain to market. That could in turn dramatically increase the return of salmon to the Columbia and Snake rivers, which in turn would increase orca whale populations and improve the fishery. We need win-win solutions and that's why Save Our Wild Salmon supports this inspiring and doable proposal."
~ Sam Mace, Inland Northwest Director for Save Our Wild Salmon
“We are what we eat. But also we are how we travel. We need to move beyond gloom and doom to holistic solutions. America desperately needs a new transportation system, as well as a regenerative food, farming, energy, and political system. Part of the transformation is outlined in this visionary new book, Solutionary Rail by Bill Moyer and his able team. All aboard!"
~ Ronnie Cummins, Director, Organic Consumers Association
"Solutionary Rail provides a pragmatic and sustainable approach for revitalizing our national economy and infrastructure. In particular, rural America will benefit from the economic stimulus, new jobs and the source for renewable energy from this state-of-the-art rail electrification system. Solutionary Rail provides a path to the future in which everyone will benefit."
~ Patrick Cox, Ph.D., CLN Director and Past President and Director, Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), Texas
“The Solutionary Rail book addresses an issue which I have long advocated with regard to electrification of railways as an essential step in modernizing America’s railway network for improved freight and passenger transportation between cities which is long overdue.”
~ Dr. Hal Cooper, consulting engineer and infrastructure expert
"This book is a must read for anyone who works for a railroad, wants to work for a railroad, or wants to come to a better understanding on how transportation can be restructured to fill the needs of a planet killing itself on fossil fuels."
~ Jeff Kurtz, Retired 41 year locomotive engineer with the BNSF and Iowa State Legislative Board Chairman ( 2004-2014 )with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen.
"Reaching 100% clean energy means finding fossil free solutions for 100% of our economy. Solutionary Rail dares to take one of the toughest challenges for long-distance ground transportation in a modern economy, and double dares us to envision integrated solutions for rural economic development and renewable energy development in the same landscape of opportunity."
~ Dr. Holmes Hummel, founder of Clean Energy Works and former Senior Policy Advisor for Policy in the U.S. Department of Energy
"As a society, we must move away from the use of fossil fuel; however, a modern technological society requires mobility. Merely saying no to fossil fuel is not a solution. This project is an excellent positive step. We are running out of time. Tomorrow cannot be a copy of today."
~ Thomas White, railroad operations consultant and co-author of Traffic
"Bill Moyer's Solutionary Rail team outline a truly exciting and equitable vision for the ever elusive "just transition" we're all searching for as we move away from fossil fuels. This is systemic change in action!"
~ Daphne Wysham, Director, Climate and Energy Program, Center for Sustainable Economy
"A key policy discussion is going on across North America about the role of railroads with respect to Climate Change. Railroaders and community safety activists alike need to understand we must be part of that discussion. The publication of Solutionary Rail is an important contribution to that discussion. I encourage every railroader to read it...and think about it."
~ Fritz Edler, retired 37 year veteran railroader and BLET Division Chair. Special Representative for Railroad Workers United.
"A brilliant solution to our simultaneous need to cut carbon emissions and improve our transportation infrastructure. Brilliant!"
~ Thom Hartmann, author, radio and television journalist
"Americans are eager for big projects that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Solutionary Rail should certainly get the attention of our fellow citizens – especially those surrounded by giant gas-guzzling trucks tearing up our already crumbling interstate highways. This new proposal might very well kindle a new fire in the public debate about our country’s transportation and energy future."
~ Roger Hickey, Co-Director, Campaign for America's Future
“Electrification of transportation is a critical part of decarbonizing our economy. Solutionary Rail makes the vital link between clean renewable energy as the necessary electricity supply to reducing emissions from the diesel trains and long-haul trucks. This book challenges us all to re-envision our energy infrastructure.”
~ Nancy Hirsh, executive director, NW Energy Coalition
“As the U.S. population grows, along with the attending to the need for greater movement of goods, we have to protect mobility for people from the surging demand across a constrained network. Solutionary Rail thinks big in laying out its capacity building blueprint for how to keep America moving efficiently and sustainably.”
~ Sean Jeans-Gail, Vice President National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP)
“Well reasoned and comprehensively documented – this book will jumpstart an energy transformation in the United States that has already been demonstrated as a success in other countries.”
~ Ralph Nader, author, consumer protection, environmental and democracy champion and former independent and Green Party presidential candidate