More than a dozen labor organizations, environmental groups, passenger/freight rail advocacy associations, social justice organizations, and neighborhood/community associations have joined forces to launch the Nevada Rail Coalition. The Coalition’s express purpose is to build an expanded and more robust rail system — freight and passenger — in the Silver State and regionally.
An expanded, robust rail system in Nevada and neighboring states can be the keystone of a low-carbon, environmentally sustainable and socially just transportation system that helps the United States meet its carbon-reduction goals. The transportation sector is currently the leading emitter of carbon and other toxic emissions.
Nevada is an ideal place to develop rail, because of its great distances between cities and large amount of auto and truck traffic crossing the state to and from California. Nevada and the American West are under-served by rail. Reno has only one Amtrak passenger train a day. Las Vegas, an international resort destination, is not served by rail at all, leaving visitors to deal with overcrowded airports and freeways. In rural Nevada - even in towns where Amtrak’s minimal service passes though, if you don’t or cannot drive, you’re stuck.
“Rail travel is a convenient, comfortable and energy efficient means of mass transit,” said Janet Carter, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter Executive Committee member. “Studies have shown that many people prefer train travel over any other form of transportation. However, in Nevada we are limited by a lack of availability of good rail options. The Nevada Rail Coalition seeks to amplify existing routes and help create new ones so that all Nevadans can enjoy the comfort and convenience of rail travel.”
“The American economy relies tremendously on rail transport of products and people, said Mike Pilcher, President of the Northern Nevada Central Labor Council. “Without stronger interstate and intrastate rail buildout, oversight and staffing, the people's commerce, labor and industry are blocked from full potential. American Railroads need to prioritize these interests as much as they do profits.
The NRC brings together a broad spectrum of stakeholders who examine conditions, discuss strategy and provide recommendations for improving essential rail infrastructure with the goal of raising the quality of life for all. The Nevada AFL-CIO is proud to support this Nevada model working in the people's interests.”
“By harnessing the power of labor, together with environmental organizations, youth, passengers, shippers, and social justice advocates, we hope to build the diverse political coalition necessary to gain more and better rail service in the state,” said Ron Kaminkow, General Secretary, Railroad Workers United. “Fewer cars and trucks on the highways and more trains on the rails would translate into a safer, cleaner, more prosperous, efficient and less congested Nevada that would greatly benefit all the citizens — both rural and urban — of the state.”
Projects the Coalition is pursuing include the following:
● Developing a regional passenger rail transit system in northern Nevada;
● Restoring Amtrak’s “Desert Wind” service between Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Southern California.
● Completing high-speed rail service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas;
● Extending California’s existing Capitol Corridor route between San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento to Reno;
● Expanding and upgrading Amtrak station stops in rural Nevada, including Lovelock, West Wendover, and Battle Mountain;
● And eventually, connecting Reno and Las Vegas by rail.
Members of the Nevada Rail Coalition include:
● Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen (BLET)
● International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD)
● International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local #533 (Northern NV)
● Mogul Neighborhood Association (Reno)
● NEXXT Rail LLC
● Nevada State AFL-CIO
● Northern Nevada Central Labor Council AFL-CIO
● On Track North America
● Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN)
● RailPAC of California & Nevada (RAILPAC)
● Rail Passengers Association (RPA)
● Railroad Workers United (RWU)
● Sierra Club – Toiyabe Chapter (Nevada & Eastern CA)
● Solutionary Rail
● Sunrise Movement (Reno Nevada Hub)
More information about the Nevada Rail Coalition is available on our website: NevadaRailCoalition.org.
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