But if you try sometimes, you might just get Amtrak what it needs. And a little street cred is what it needs.
I wrote a column for the print issue of Better Roads not too many months ago with the headline “Angelina Jolie.” Within that column I suggested, not entirely facetiously, that the transportation infrastructure lobby needed something more than common sense, more than solid bipartisan arguments, more than a case that an underfunded transportation system would be disastrous to our long-term economic and social health. It needed celebrity, as much of it as it could get (hence Ms. Jolie).
Because that celebrity might attract the mainstream press who are so very hard to turn on to those ideas but will throw themselves under oncoming celebrity busses if a big enough celebrity is talking about anything–even transportation infrastructure. And that celebrity might even budge politicians stuck in do-nothing reelection mode.
Now comes dear old Amtrak, and who is riding? The Rolling Stone, that’s who.
Mick Jagger says it was “a great ride” and posted a photo on Instagram to show his sheer enjoyment. But one photo may not be enough. Now what Amtrak has to do is get Mick and Keith to pepper their press conferences with praise and work Amtrak and “great ride” into some lyrics.
I’ll help: I Can’t Get No Transportation.
Silly? Yes, of course. But again, I’m not being 100-percent facetious. As in the Angelina column, I am increasingly frustrated by seeing good work from the transportation lobby and transportation journalists arguing clearly and coherently the absolute necessity of increased funding for transportation infrastructure finding no one in the halls of power listening.
Turn up the volume.