Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How to Make Progress Using a Snail Pace

Senator Leahy this week received a straight faced report in VT Digger on moving another step forward in customs pre-clearance in Montreal considered necessary for resumption of a rail connection to Montreal.  This in spite of the fact such service existing for more than a century until abandoned in the 1980s.   More important connectivity could be obtained and a profit gained by a simple connection by by a dedicated bus (an "Ambus") between the Amtrak Vermonter serving St. Albans to DC and Montreal's Gare Centrale.  Service was run for a time by bus using a regular Greyhound service with far more difficult scheduling (leaving about 5 a.m. in Montreal) and years before the new freeway extension north of the border cutting about 20 minutes in highway travel times.  It is so ironic that while the Vermont Agency of Transportation started an equivalent "Ambus" connection between Bennington last year to the Amtrak Station in Albany at a heavy subsidy, making a profit with a Montreal Ambus remains on the shelf.  Clear example of bureaucratic hypocrisy?

Here is a comment just made in reference to Stn. Leahy work on customs pre-clearance at Gare Central for New York and Vermont train connections:

"The charade of taking a Montreal/Vermont rail connection seriously masks taking action today to provide a daily rail/Ambus connection to Gare Centrale Montreal drawing 15,000 to 30,000 yearly riders onto the mostly empty train in Vermont, the Vermonter which travels between St. Albans and DC. Forget the $1 million potential profit and thereby equal reduction of State dollars required to support the two Vermont Amtrak trains, Vermonters cannot use this safe and cheaper way to get to the Great North.  So sad the Vermont Agency of Transportation continues this malign neglect of rail connectivity while touting its own great work of completing (almost) its two-decade effort to extend the Ethan Allen Amtrak service from Rutland 55 miles to Burlington.  (Oh, yes, it is only 55 miles because the 13 miles of track from Charlotte to Union Station Burlington has been Amtrak ready since Dr. Dean's Champlain Flyer investments in 1999-2000.)"