Funny how I just though about the movie, "Field of Dreams."
Took the newly build Northstar Line train service into downtown Minneapolis earlier today to check out Twins Fest. Now, I'm a big baseball fan that can't wait until the Twins open up the season in their new outdoor ballpark, but, today, I think I was more excited about my first ride on the Northstar.
You see, I, like many Americans, have a sense of romance when it comes to trains. It's not a long ride into the city from Anoka. Just long enough though, to let my mind drift off, especially as we snaked our way through the old rail yards.
As the president has opened up billions of dollars nationwide to go toward a high speed rail line, fiscally conservative types lament train travel as costly and ineffective and express their doubts on ridership potential.
To that I say, just like that beautiful ballpark, built it and they will come. Just like baseball, Americans love trains. Amtrak has a line from Seattle to Chicago that passes through St. Paul twice daily. "The Empire Builder," as it's know, is a very popular route which is often sold out, especially the leg between Chicago and the Twin Cities, despite often running an hour or more late.
A high speed line from St. Paul to Chicago would make stops in La Crosse, Madison and Milwaukee and would still make the trip in 5 hours. Naysayers will tell you, why not fly?" When you figure the hassles associated with flying, along with the fact the train would bring you to the central business district, the time is almost a wash.
But forget all the efficiency nonsense. There may be nothing else that says "Americana" like a big shiny train. Let's build this thing, I will come.