ST. PAUL — The SMART-Transportation Division (SMART-TD) has released a survey taken in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District that shows support for Amtrak and two-person train crews.
The poll was conducted Sept. 23-26 for the SMART-TD Iowa Legislative Board by DFM Research of St. Paul, Minn. SMART-TD represents conductors, switchmen, engineers, airline pilots and bus drivers throughout the United States and Canada, and prior to merging with the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, was known as the United Transportation Union.
Amtrak has experienced record ridership numbers in 10 of the last 11 years, with a record 31.2 million passengers riding Amtrak in 2012. In July of this year alone, Amtrak had 2.9 million riders, a 4.8 percent increase over last year.
Southern Iowa residents have validated the importance of Amtrak in this latest poll. Whether it is support for current to increased federal funding (73 percent) or current to increased passenger service (87 percent), 3rd District lowan’s show broad and substantial support for Amtrak. With airline travel being both hassling and unpredictable, travelers rely more on Amtrak for both short and long distance travel.
“The dangers of only having one person responsible for the safety of a trains’ movement became tragically clear in July of this year when a train in Canada ran away and virtually destroyed the community of Lac-Megantic and killed 47 people,” said Jim Garrett of SMART-TD. “In Spain, a passenger train careened around a curve at twice the posted speed limit killing 80 persons and injuring dozens more.
“In both cases, a second crew member would very likely have prevented these tragedies. This poll shows strong support for Congress to enact a law requiring two persons on trains.”