I also joked "Ten years ago, you'd be considered madmen. Now, you're considered visionaries." But it seems the madmen in relation to rail lurk elsewhere in D.C. A bipartisan group of Senators are demanding that Amtrak comply with a rider in the Senate transportation bill that demands it allow passengers to bring guns onto the trains by April.
Amtrak says it can't comply by the April deadline -- not, mind you, that it won't comply at all. Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker's spokesperson says that Amtrak "refuses at its own peril" and implies that it's defying a "pro-gun Congress."
Since when did being pro-gun also mean being anti-mass transit?
By the way, the House has a stand-alone amendment to allow guns on trains -- without jeoparding the overall transportation funding.
Amtrak argues that it would need to implement security measures to accommodate the guns. That seems reasonable: We wouldn't want passengers getting on planes without screening, would we? (Heck, we can't even carry toothpaste).
Is it really so important that guns be allowed on the trains by April -- so much so as to refuse Amtrak the $1 billion it would need from this bill? Are people making special plans for tax time?
Whether one is pro-gun or pro-gun control is beside this particular point. Why are we mashing one issue into another? With a Congress like this, how are we ever really going to have a realistic stab at making high-speed rail work? People are getting all up in arms in the wrong place.