Skip to comments.Gov. Candidates talk about Rail Runner: Will they keep the train? (NM - Richardson's Railroad)
Posted on 10/08/2010 11:51:03 AM PDT by CedarDave
It's been four years, and like most forms of public transportation, the rail runner isn't paying for itself.
The train cost 22-million dollars to operate last fiscal year, and five million of that came from the state.
So what will the next governor do about the rail runner?
News 13 asked both candidates that question.
Republican Governor Candidate Susana Martinez said, We have to do an economic analysis to see how much is the public willing to pump in to that transportation? Or can we change it in a way that makes it worthwhile?
Democrat Diane Denish sent News 13 a statement saying she would review the train's schedules and fares to see if it is drawing as many passengers as possible.
She also said she would look into putting advertising on the trains to bring in cash.
Even though the 400-million dollar train is already here, News 13 wanted to know whether the women fighting for the state's top job were behind the rail runner in the first place.
Denish declined to answer that question.
But, here's what she told the media when the rail runner made its first trip down the tracks back in 2006.
I think it's not the wave of the future. I think it is the future. We need to be part of it. Denish said.
Martinez said the train wasn't just for commuters, I think (Bill) Richardson intended to create a legacy for himself and the money we're pumping into the rail runner long term was not actually taken into consideration.
The feds pay for almost 5 million of the rail runner's operating cost.
(Excerpt) Read more at krqe.com ...
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Maybe we can tie Willie Green here to the tracks of this money losing albatross.
Maybe the indians can set up card tables, slots and a blackjack table on the train.
Maybe so. The train goes through five pueblos of which four have state/fed gaming licenses.
By the way, the Indians have set up shop at the downtown ABQ train station under an overpass and shelter set up for them. There they sell their wares as they have for 100 years to passengers on the now two daily Amtrak trains.
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The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic is currently truncated at the west end due to a trestle fire in late June that destroyed the connection to Chama. It will take about $2 million to rebuild. Richardson wants that much of the fed stimulus package to go to purchasing some land to place 30 wild mustangs on. Even the Democrats are outraged (though those in Santa Fe think eco-tourism); they want it to go to the public schools or the usual “entitlement” programs.
I didn’t know it was a fire that took out the trestle, but did read that they replaced part of the train trip with Buses! The horror!
Buses leave from Chama and go by road to 10,000 ft. Cumbres Pass where the train currently terminates. That 15 mile ride up the 3-4% grade was one of the highlights. If you go, start from the east end and go to the pass where a bus will take you back to your starting point. That section of the line always received less patronage when the Chama end was in operation. It goes from high desolate desert to tall pines and aspens with a big hot lunch including homemade desserts at Osier. The track has been almost completely rebuilt with new ties and ballast and is better than even was in use back in the Rio Grande days.
The train in Chama goes through some amazing scenery. I took the trip to Osier and back in August of 2000. One month later, we rode the Durango & Silverton (which used to be part of the same RR). The Chama line has much better scenery, but the D&S line is run professionally, and it shows.
The McDonalds in Durango is next to the train station, so you can order your food while a steam engine is warming up just yards away from you. Kind of a strange, anachronistic juxtaposition.
Funny how Diane Denish refused to answer the question on what she said about the RR in the beginning. Does she think no one can find those old quotes and shine the light on them? Just admit you were for it and now you realize it’s a mistake. *shaking my head here* These people think we’re idiots.
***The McDonalds in Durango is next to the train station, so you can order your food while a steam engine is warming up just yards away from you. ***
There used to be a SAMBO’S RESTAURANT there.
Sadly, neither answer was what I wanted to hear. Not that the choo choo is a major issue to me overall, but if Denish said her first official act would be to make it defunct, I’d consider voting for her, as much as I hate democrats.
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