Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pensacola Chats Up Senator Bill Nelson Today

Today at Pensacola Junior College, about 50 area constituents showed up to have a talk with Florida’s Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson. The topics of the conversation ranged from the state of the economy, veterans’ benefits, Amtrak service in Pensacola and of course, taxes.

First of all, politicians need to come out and admit they don't have the power to improve the economy. This is the job of the business community and hard working Americans like us. Of course, Nelson didn't admit this.

I’m not sure how much of the federal government’s budget goes towards veterans’ benefits. I'm not sure whether it has been going up or down. We should increase the spending if we have more service members retiring.

Our whole tax structure needs to be restructured; don’t even get me started on that subject.

As for the percentage of our earnings that should be taxed, the federal government should take in as little as possible, while at the same time, sufficiently fund essential government services.

I wouldn’t expect to see the Amtrak blow through Pensacola any time soon. The route from New Orleans to Jacksonville that stops in Pensacola has been closed since Hurricane Katrina. Amtrak isn’t rushing to open up the hurricane damaged route because the government-funded passenger train company is bleeding money. The train is romantic, but Americans just don’t use it enough to make Amtrak any money.

I’m glad the attendees of the Nelson town hall asked such great questions. More Pensacolians need to get out and become politically active. Future Americans will thank you.

3 comments:

Edward said...

The reason I was told that Amtrak has not resumed Pensacola service is the condition of the tracks. They are owned by the freight lines and even though they are open, the condition is such that the freight trains can't go faster than 30 mph along portions of it. Back in June I had to drive to New Orleans to take the Amtrak train "The City of New Orleans" to Chicago, it was great, could not stop singing the Arlo Guthrie song by the same title. The price was very competitive with air travel, but so much more civilized and a grander way to travel. I hope Sen. Nelson can help.

Chris Olson said...

Edward

I wish the train was a more viable source of transportation. It would be great to let the conductor do the driving, instead of me.

Nevertheless, Amtrak is heavily subsidized by taxpayer's money. And right now, Amtrak is not making any money. To me, it seems like a bad investment of taxpayer money.

Did you ask the Amtrak official if the freight companies are planning on repairing the track? I would think it would be done by now if it was that big of a hinderence on freight lines.

It will be interesting to see if Amtrak opens up the route when the track is fixed.

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