Louisville rally boosts high speed rail

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to view a YouTube video of the rally.

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

About 30 people braved scorching heat outside downtown Louisville's federal courthouse this afternoon for a rally to urge Congress to provide more funding for a national high-speed rail network which would include Louisville.

"An investment into high-speed rail is an investment into our future-- millions of jobs, cleaner air, improved economy, and a more convenient way to travel that is both fast and safe," said a spokesperson for NCFO-SEIU 32BJ, which sponsored the rally.

The union's Bo Johnson emceed the program. Speakers included Kentucky State AFL-CIO president Bill Londrigan; Ronnie Holcombe, NCFO-SEIU;  K.A. Owens, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth; and Jeff Joines, national director of government affairs, BMWED/Teamsters Rail Conference. 

Rally-goers were urged to phone their members of Congress at 1-877-206-1846 (toll free) and urge them to support high-speed rail.  

On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden said he favored "sparking the second great railroad revolution." and promised to ensure that the U.S. "has the cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world – for both passengers and freight."

Shortly after Biden was elected last November, the U.S. High Speed Rail Association’s issued a “5-Point High Speed Rail Plan." 

The plan calls for a high speed rail link to be built between Louisville and Nashville.

Johnson said high speed makes travel quicker and more convenient. He also said high speed rail is environmental friendly because high speed trains are electric-powered.

High speed rail is common throughout western Europe, Japan and other countries.

"It's like high-speed internet," WDRB quoted Johnson, "Everybody has it, we utilize it, but we can't seem to be able to fund or provide high-speed rail to the people of this country. We're still in dial up, ya'll."

Johnson also said a high speed rail network would create many jobs in construction and rail maintenance and stimulate retail, service and tourist industries.