May 1 Rally

Brattleboro people are planning to attend a May 1 noon rally outside the Vermont statehouse. The rally is being organized by the state AFL-CIO; Springfield, Massachusetts and Holyoke-based UFCW and UAW union locals that have members in Vermont; Planned Parenthood; Migrant Justice, the Vermont Workers' Center; 350 Vermont, and other groups. Details are at:

www.facebook.com/events/2994783814088637

The rally is in Montpelier. If Vermont's Republican governor hadn't shut down Amtrak in the state – even as he left the Burlington airport open with commercial flights to New York, Chicago and many other cities – it would be a short train ride to the rally from Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Greenfield, and Brattleboro. The good news is Amtrak will be back in Vermont starting July 19.

Ben Heckscher runs a Northampton-based group that has a web site at www.TrainsInTheValley.org. On April 27 he told the Valley Post, β€œThe existing Amtrak long distance train that operates between Boston and Springfield, and points west, currently is operating three days a week. This service will be restored to daily service on May 31. There has been no announced plan to cut fares. With that said, it is likely that Amtrak will offer promotional discounts as part of their plan to rebuild the ridership that was lost over the past year due to the pandemic. The Northern Tier rail study (of passenger trains between Greenfield and Boston alongside Route 2, to be done by the state transportation agency) will kick-off in the early summer.... The PVTA will launch a new express bus service between Amherst and Worcester Union station in July.... This service will be timed to connect in Worcester with MBTA Commuter rail service to/from Boston South station.”

Meanwhile, the nation's first bullet train is under construction between Los Angeles and San Francisco. More than 2,300 workers are currently laying out the tracks for the bullet train. Trains there will go 200 mph. At that speed, from Springfield it would take about 45 minutes to get to New York City and about half an hour to Boston.

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