Sunday, March 15, 2009

All Aboard...

All Aboard…

The trainmaster calls out “All Aboard” and the people shuffle themselves and their belongings towards the gate like a content herd of cattle. After boarding the train at the King Street Station (Seattle), we find ourselves gliding along smooth tracks to Portland. The leather seats are inviting and apparently (if the gal snoring across from us is any indicator) comfortable enough for the 4 hour ride aboard Amtrak’s Cascader (wouldn’t an under 2 hour high speed line we wonderful?). After pulling through the industrial landscape from Seattle to Tacoma, the rail line takes a scenic burst along the Puget Sound. The clouds clear, the mountains appear and I begin to wonder what the phrase “All Aboard” means for our nation. Are we all on board? Has the POW V corridor been left behind?

For the past 25 years, our country has experienced great strides in ‘so-called’ economic expansion. Despite the recent recessions, our GDP and other economic indicators illustrate a nation living the good life. However, as we ‘peel the onion back’, we realize not everyone is ‘All Aboard’. Despite the harsh warning signs of the prior generation, we continued to build an economy driven by the oil of other nations and (increasingly) the muscle of other nation’s labor. With cheap oil/gas in our nation’s engine, we plowed forward building corporate profits by selling the goods ‘Made in China’. In turn, we now face immensely divided economic classes, a fragile economy (one spike in oil prices away from collapse) and an environment in peril. On both sides of the political aisle, we’ve built policy on the ‘sink or swim’ ideas. These flawed concepts have left the communities which once built our nation’s infrastructure as people/regions which ‘couldn’t make it’. Our heartland became more of a liability as we moved into the global ‘free-market’ economies. Areas throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia became second-thought on the political landscape as the unemployment rose, the ‘strong’ escaped, and the proud people suffered.

Economic booms and busts come in cycles, and there’s always going to be areas/people which benefit more/less from those movements. Our region has always played a key role in providing the foundation for our nation’s prosperity. We built (and served as the primary corridors of) the transportation lines of the 1800’s (original rail lines) and the 1900’s (interstate highways). We furnished the coal to burn and the steel to build the bones of a country. For the most part, we missed the call to transform our economy into the Information-Age and continued to grasp onto the jobs (which put food on our tables for the generations) like a fading dream. But, the next ‘age’ is upon us and has our names (all of our names) written all over it. The ‘green economy’ is plowing ahead with an agenda which will transform the jobs of the industrial age into those which will provide the same benefits (and more) but in a more responsible manner. This is why it’s so important we embrace a concept of ‘All Aboard’ rather than outsource the next cycle of development. The new leaders must boldly step forward and provide a platform for the U.S. to take a front role in this inevitable movement. We must innovate in ways which not only provide profits for the corporation’s short-term agendas but capture our communities’ welfare for generations to come. If not, not only will the poor and middle-class suffer, those at the top of the pyramid will continue to prosper on false realities.

Currently, we’re ‘only’ one voice in this movement however POW V High Speed Rail holds this concept as a driving principle. We believe without all of our neighbors “All Aboard”, any short-term gains will be fragile for all. We’re not advocates of hand-outs nor are the people of our region. We don’t need the flashy bling of Hollywood, the pressed suits of Wall St, but rather we want to build something. We want to be at ground zero of a strong and vibrant nation. You see, instead of needing our names in lights, we put our names on lunch pails. We’re people who want to provide for others and provide for our families in return, and hope it extends to our grandchildren. POW V believes bringing high speed rail to this region will facilitate our involvement in the ‘green economy’ and fuel the fires of innovation towards jobs within our borders.

All Aboard?!?

Place your name on the POW V lunch pail by joining our team at

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