Passenger train idea worth a long look

DAILY SUN NEWS EDITORIAL

Over the past few decades, there has been a push to strip Eastern Washington of its railroad infrastructure in the name of trails. But a study going on at Central Washington University has breathed new life into rail service opportunities here in the Lower Yakima Valley.

A new proposal calls initially to study options for restoring passenger rail service from Pasco to Auburn. The route would take passengers on Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks through Prosser, Mabton and Toppenish.

It’s an interesting idea, to be sure. Rail access would work both ways, allowing area residents to travel to the Seattle area without having to sit in traffic or get stuck in the pass. It would also allow hipsters from the metro area to travel to our area and drop a few bucks on hotels, dinners, wine and special events without clogging up our roads..

The possibilities are endless. But, proponents say, there is little chance of restoring passenger rail service here without a strong push from residents, politicians, businesses and community leaders. Since we’re in the early stages of the discussion, we think its important to speak up and support the idea.

Passenger rail service would open the door to stay-and-play packages that have the potential to jumpstart our economy, improving jobs and wages here. It also gives us more options for accessing food, fun, shopping and recreation west of the Cascades.

We encourage you to log onto the survey website and answer the few questions being used as a litmus test for the idea.

The survey is available online at https://cwu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0iGdDaGTpWeHXLL.

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