Is the Rail Runner worth It?

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By The Staff




Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- Gov. Bill Richardson's most noticeable big spending initiative has been the Rail Runner train, which now extends from Belen to Santa Fe.

Over $400 million has been expended on the project thus far but that's chicken feed compared to his dream of extending the line from Las Cruces to Raton. He's even talked about his vision of a line from El Paso to Denver.

Somehow I never really caught the train bug. They've been a thing of the past to me. Passenger air travel became the rage in the late 1940s. Ten years later, the Interstate highway system made long distance car travel much faster and easier.

Short haul rail transportation in large metropolitan areas remained popular but otherwise many rail lines started going broke. So why are we now thinking that it's such a good deal in the spread out West?

I've ridden the rails between Albuquerque and El Paso a few times over the decades. I enjoyed passing through the bosques along the Rio Grande but the trains were never very full and passenger service declined to a halt.

So now the state wants to spend a huge amount of our money starting it up again? Personally I'd rather bet on the spaceport

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