BOISE, Idaho — This week President Biden unveiled his $2 trillion "American Jobs Plan," one to give a big federal boost to American infrastructure.
In it there's a call for $80 billion to go toward America's railways, specifically passenger service, a move which Amtrak said this nation has been waiting for.
Well, we're going to likely keep waiting in southern Idaho.
This is how Amtrak sees America - a lot of rail routes across the eastern seaboard and into the Midwest. They say their objective is to connect the country.
And with the president’s proposal to put an $80 billion boost toward train travel, their vision is to add 20 million more passengers by visiting 160 more communities, with multiple daily trips to 15 more states by 2035.
The light blue lines on the map would be new routes, dark blue are already in play, and yellow those would be enhanced routes. Here's looking at you Chicago.
But as you move more to the west...well, it appears those aspirations are a little sparse.
Wyoming you'll finally get a stop, barely. Say hi to Cheyenne.
And here we have Idaho. It seems the track jumped the southern section and the middle section.
If it wasn't for one whistle stop in Sandpoint, which already exists, this plan is already off the rails.
Well, at least we're not South Dakota, which hasn't had passenger train service since 1969.
Boise hasn't had service since 1997 when Amtrak's Pioneer line ran between Salt Lake City and Seattle.
We asked Amtrak why southern Idaho was left off the map. We were told this was just an aspiration meant to spur conversations. And that if you want Amtrak service in southern Idaho, and you have ideas on how to make that happen, they would love to hear about it.
They also suggested starting with any of our metro planning organizations, and then maybe the Idaho Transportation Department, or even reaching out to a congressman or two.
There have been several attempts to revive passenger rail service through Boise. The most recent involved Sen. Mike Crapo in 2009. But cost was a factor and it fizzled.
Maybe $80 billion would do it?
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