I’m delighted to report that the Train Campaign projects were included in the governor’s bond bill last week, and the bills I filed by petition (a unique Massachusetts citizen right) have been favorably reported on. Read about A Great Week for Train Advocates in Massachusetts.
It was fascinating to contribute to both Massachusetts and federal legislation related to trains, a window into what one of my colleagues describes as “how the sausage gets made.” I also went to the State House to meet with legislators. In fact, I was leaving Boston after those meetings when I heard that Governor Charlie Baker had declared an official state of emergency over COVID-19.
This is good news in terms of leadership, but it’s been hard for everyone to accept that we simply have to cancel everything for a while. It’s a challenge for those who aren’t accustomed to online meetings and Doodle scheduling, and of course a huge challenge for workers and businesses.
But this is our time to be alive – let’s hang in there, together. I am buoyed by the growing awareness of how much passenger rail can contribute to a sustainable future. If you’d like to follow the Train Campaign and Western Mass Rail Coalition, please feel free to sign up for our email list at TrainCampaign.org and follow us @traincampaign.
The Train Campaign began with this 2011 letter, by the way: Trainspotting, from Beijing to the Berkshires. Many of you responded, and that’s what led me into rail advocacy. Now here’s another letter from Beijing.
Today’s New York Times has a similar take on the situation from writer Ian Johnson, who also lives in Beijing: “China Bought the West Time. The West Squandered It.” This reminds me of our conversation about China a year and a half ago, Pro-China or Anti-China? A Publisher’s Dilemma. Here is what our expert colleagues told us was The most important thing to know about China. There’s plenty more to say, and we’ll be asking for your thoughts on how COVID-19 has affected the relative position and image of the US and China.
Here’s a man walking in the compound where Tom lives, and of a box of masks being mailed to us in Massachusetts. Tom’s comment: “Special thanks to Natasha for going out into the post-corona wasteland to haggle with the scavengers for these masks. We had to trade several of our fattest rats for them, which we were otherwise saving for Easter dinner.”
The weather has been lovely, though much warmer than normal. Here’s a sight that startled me a couple days ago: bees buzzing over the earliest flowers, winter aconite, which generally pushes up through the snow.