PETITION: Governor Inslee - Champion a Just Transition to Safer, Sustainable Railroads via Solutionary Rail

[UPDATE:  Our labor allies at the Washington State Labor Council passed a resolution to Governor Inslee in support of Solutionary Rail at their annual convention in July 2016.  Read about the HUGE news HERE.  Due to this GREAT NEWS and surpassing our initial 500 signature goal - we have increased the goal to 1000.  Solidarity!]


Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, MosierBombTrainGIFMedSpeed.gif

The June 3, 2016 explosive oil train derailment in Mosier, Oregon reminded us that the railroads that run through our communities are being utilized in ways that are endangering public health and safety, polluting our water and air, and ultimately harming our oceans and climate. Current railroad uses also negatively impact agriculture shipments, strand rural communities, delay passenger trains, and displace other higher-value potential for rail. As we have told you before, this does not have to be the case.  We need your leadership to change it.  And we need it now.

Bomb Trains have no place in the railroad industry's business model nor in the future of safe and sustainable rail transport.  We therefore echo our allies in the call for a moratorium on the shipping of explosive Bakken oil through our communities.  But it is not enough to say "No." That is why we have worked for three years to craft a vision to which all can proclaim a  resounding  "YES!" 

Solutionary Rail is a proposal that places railroads at the center of a sustainable transport infrastructure redefining the future of US rail.  It charts a path that overcomes the impediments to infrastructure improvement on our privately owned railroads through public-private partnership to finance, build and run a publicly owned electrification and transmission system.  It mandates that this system be fed by distributed renewable energy generation along the route and raises the bar on protecting railroad workers and communities along the tracks.  

Solutionary Rail is a catalyst project that creates synergies for positive movement and a broader just transition away from fossil fuel use and transport.
Shipping freight by electrified rail is efficient, requiring approximately 10-25 percent of the energy required to ship by diesel truck.  Rail electrification results in dramatic capacity improvements and track speeds up to 80 and 120 MPH for high-value freight and passengers respectively.  Electrifying corridors unlocks the potential for distributed renewable energy generation and prosperity for rural communities, tribes, and power co-operatives along the route.  

Running rail on renewable energy results in near-zero carbon emissions. This addresses trains' contribution to rural and urban public health problems caused by burning diesel. Rail electrification will nearly eliminate the need for long-haul trucking and therefore reduce that source of emissions as well.  This will make freeways more safe, less burdened by the trucks that cause the most traffic fatalities and exact a disproportionate physical toll on the infrastructure itself. 

Solutionary Rail is a key component of a just transition away from the fossil fuel economy. Improvements in speed, service and capacity will draw passengers and freight off deteriorating, overcrowded freeways and clogged airports and back onto the trains and tracks. This increase in capacity combined with establishing regular freight and passenger schedules will improve service and undue a systemic cause of worker fatigue.  No longer living without a schedule, on call 24/7/365 rail workers and communities they travel through will be safer and happier.

Farmers and businesses will be able to confidently rely on rail to ship their crops and products to market in a timely manner. This increase in higher value use will displace railroads' current business model dependent upon the transport of dirty and dangerous fossil fuel commodities.  It will be replaced by a business model that serves rail companies, their workers, and the communities and regional economies they connect. 

Solutionary Rail's phase I is the route from Salish Sea to the Great Lakes, principally on BNSF’s Northern Transcon.  Successful rail electrification and modernization in the United States must start with a successful demonstration on a major rail line.  The Northern Transcon is a nationally important transport route, crossing diverse weather patterns and regional economies. It offers the perfect opportunity to successfully demonstrate rail electrification's potential to deliver of renewed vitality for US railroads and economy.

Electrified, higher-speed rail provides the foundation for sustainable jobs and prosperity through improved transportation access and stable long-term costs. By spurring the creation of a Steel Interstate Development Authority to finance electrification with low interest public bonds and building a rail electrification partnership with BNSF and others across the Northern Transcon, you Governor Inslee will be making Washington State a launch pad for the clean energy revolution you have long sought. We implore you Governor Inslee to lead with vision and champion the Solutionary Rail proposal.

SR-Map-Cab-BuildoutGIF.gifHere are the action steps we need you to take Governor Inslee: 

  • Personally Champion the Solutionary Rail vision for a future railroad industry and infrastructure that is no longer dependent upon shipping dirty and dangerous fossil fuel commodities.

  • Create an executive level task force of cabinet and agency leads to work with the Solutionary Rail technical team to study and enhance the proposal and guarantee that its key public benefit components cannot be negotiated away. 

  • Convene a leadership summit, drawing in relevant governors, agency and elected officials to adopt an implementations plan for this inter-jurisdictional proposal and a pathway for creating a multi-state Steel Interstate Development Authority able to implement Solutionary Rail's phase I pilot from the Salish Sea to the Great Lakes.

  • Negotiate a win/win partnership with Northern Transcon railroad owners including BNSF and its owner, Berkshire Hathaway led by Warren Buffett to access all necessary right of ways to build out and maintain the electrification and transmission infrastructure across the Solutionary Rail phase I corridor. 

  • Begin the electrification build-out and development of stranded renewable energy assets across Solutionary Rail route, and transition to a duel powered and pure electric locomotive fleet for higher-speed freight and passenger rail to creates new customers and draw old ones off of the roads and back onto the tracks. 

So once again Governor Inslee:

We the undersigned call upon you to be the champion we and future generations need you to be. 
Re-spark your passion for clean renewable solutions articulated in your book Apollo's Fire.  Protect our land and people from bomb trains and the fossil fuel driven economy. Lead boldly and use your power to get railroads on a track to a future we can all be proud of. 

Champion Backbone Campaign's Solutionary Rail proposal.

With Respect and Urgency,

Solutionary Rail Team
The Backbone Campaign
& Undersigning Allies



[SIGNERS: PLEASE Pitch-in to this forward looking project and receive a copy of the Solutionary Rail book; go to the Solutionary Rail Pitch-in Page.  
For more information and background papers go to]

Who's signing

Lewis Kuhlman
Mark and Judy Harvey
Kimberly Smith
Mary Paterson
Michael Watkins
Philippe Lebel
Jana Fischback
komal sarma
Jeanne Poirier
Robert Kaminski
Bill Aston
Jason Anderson
John Ranford
Yvonne Leach
Glen Anderson
Elizabeth Atly
William (Bill) Daniell
John Flowers
John Casseday
Joel Carlson
Molly Gibbs
Samuel Deetz
Jennifer Zeisig
Ronna Loerch
Suzanne Cook
John O'Neill
Victoria Hilt
750 signatures

Will you sign?

Showing 97 reactions

  • Lewis Kuhlman
    signed 2019-05-04 14:19:25 -0700
  • Mark and Judy Harvey
    signed 2019-04-10 13:20:17 -0700
    We live in N.E. PA.
  • Kimberly Smith
    signed 2019-03-22 08:08:25 -0700
  • Mary Paterson
    signed 2019-02-18 12:21:05 -0800
  • Michael Watkins
    signed 2019-01-29 13:04:17 -0800
  • Philippe Lebel
    signed 2019-01-19 19:29:41 -0800
  • Jana Fischback
    signed 2018-09-28 10:35:33 -0700
  • Sasi Hada
    posted about this on Facebook 2018-06-03 07:50:39 -0700 here you get E aadhar
  • komal sarma
    signed 2018-06-03 07:49:57 -0700
    komal sarma
  • Jeanne Poirier
    signed 2018-03-04 12:44:25 -0800
    Thanks you for your creativity and forward looking campaigns. Solutionary Rail gives me hope.
  • Robert Kaminski
    signed 2018-01-16 16:04:25 -0800
  • Bill Aston
    signed 2017-12-20 04:35:23 -0800
    I haven’t identified the emotive component to all of this, yet I’m sure it’s there.
  • Jason Anderson
    signed 2017-12-14 15:17:27 -0800
    I fully support this

    Jason with
  • John Ranford
    signed 2017-10-24 13:35:30 -0700
    The challenge is how to deal with the industry disruption that will inevitably take place as a result of making the transition to renewable energy. Naturally the special interests of these major industries will do whatever they can to keep this from happening. Either that or they will buy out the companies who are causing the disruption. Can be a win win for everyone. Renewable energy is the future, and the future is now.
  • Yvonne Leach
    signed 2017-10-23 16:02:42 -0700
  • Glen Anderson
    signed 2017-10-21 11:19:17 -0700
    Solutionary Rail is a truly great “win-win” solution to several problems!!!

    It has great potential to engage many constituencies in solving problems!!!
  • Elizabeth Atly
    signed 2017-09-10 20:30:17 -0700
  • William (Bill) Daniell
    signed 2017-09-10 10:13:24 -0700
  • John Flowers
    signed 2017-07-14 11:34:18 -0700
  • John Casseday
    signed 2017-04-29 11:52:38 -0700
  • Joel Carlson
    signed 2017-04-13 15:15:04 -0700
    Fossil fuels must stay in the ground to save us from the sixth great mass extinction of life on earth due to fossil fuel global warming. We must have sustainable agriculture that stores carbon on our soil as well. We must modernize our antiquated railroads to electricity and catch up with the rest of the advanced countries. This is urgent!
  • Molly Gibbs
    signed 2017-03-23 08:00:43 -0700
    I am sadly unable to support financially; however, once employed I will be in touch to find a niche to fill as an energized volunteer.
  • Samuel Deetz
    signed 2017-03-16 11:42:03 -0700
  • Jennifer Zeisig
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-03-01 09:17:42 -0800
    PETITION: Governor Inslee - Champion a Just Transition to Safer, Sustainable Railroads via Solutionary Rail
  • Jennifer Zeisig
    signed 2017-03-01 09:17:03 -0800
  • Ronna Loerch
    signed 2017-02-23 10:54:32 -0800
    Erie, PA has a locomotive factory that is now closed. Let’s open it back up, make the locomotives Solutionary Rail needs and bring life back to this city.
  • Suzanne Cook
    signed 2017-02-17 12:34:29 -0800
  • John O'Neill
    signed 2017-02-09 16:39:19 -0800
  • Victoria Hilt
    signed via 2017-01-30 21:33:53 -0800
  • Jo Walter
    posted about this on Facebook 2017-01-29 20:04:22 -0800
    PETITION: Governor Inslee - Champion a Just Transition to Safer, Sustainable Railroads via Solutionary Rail