Jeanne —

This year, in 2023, Solutionary Rail’s policy and research recommendations for rail in the public interest, mode shift, and electrification got attention and gained momentum on a number of fronts.

Read on to learn about the ways you have made a difference, and if inspired please contribute so that together, we can make 2024 the most pivotal year yet.

  • We’ve established encouraging relationships at all levels of government, including at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
  • In Washington State, our budget proviso to study rail yard electrificationmade it out of committee last session and remains alive for the 2024 session, which begins in early January.
  • Senator Edward Markey’s (D-MA) hearing last July featured our environmental justice and labor allies in the fight for the electrification of freight rail, starting with rail yards. 
  • Our new Rosalia to Pasco Short Line Access Rail Corridorproposal is the fruit of two years of work. It offers a truly innovative vision to provide better, more reliable service to wheat shippers in Southeast Washington – and it’s getting the attention of stakeholders from agriculture to port authorities to tribal leaders.
  • Our sign-on letter to the FRA urging them to redirect Washington State Department of Transportation away from a boondoggle bullet train project, and toward implementing the Long Range Plan for the Amtrak Cascades resulted in a key victory that could save our state billions of dollars and decades of wasted time, while putting common sense, higher speed rail back on track in Washington state.
  • This was preceded by a Freedom of Information request that revealed a neglected agreement between WSDOT and BNSF for implementing the Long Range Plan. And on Tuesday, Jan 2, the Seattle Times will be publishing our OpEd about this issue.

Solutionary Rail is more connected to our allies, and our allies are more connected with each other than ever before. This cohesion makes us all stronger.

These allies are each making a powerful impact in the fight for clean, sustainable rail that prioritizes public interests over corporate profits:

  • Railroad Workers United (RWU) vastly expanded its reach and visibility this year with its bold proposals and strong stance for workers. 
  • The Moving Forward Network (MFN) made a powerful impact on the EPA rules for regulating locomotives, opening up new opportunities for translating California’s environmental justice victories into national victories.
  • Labor Network for Sustainability hosted important inter-sector dialogue on rail and public interest, in close collaboration with Solutionary Rail.
  • UE Workers were victorious in their strike at the Wabtec facility in Erie, Pennsylvania, and they continue to grow their green locomotive campaign.
  • Many friends of Solutionary Rail were key to authoring a phenomenal policy paper on the importance of rail transport for the Sierra Club.
  • And our Climate Rail Alliance and Rail Can’t Wait allies continue to educate the public and lawmakers about rail as a climate and mobility solution. 

I am very proud of these collaborations; the growing solidarity is palpable. Together, we’ve made incredible progress in 2023.

What’s Next?

In 2024, we’ll expand upon our victories, enroll new champions for our vision, and amplify its influence on the public, planners and policy makers.

Like many of our allies, we want to invest in our capacity to do this work more effectively. Groups like UE, RWU and others are hiring additional organizers. Backbone Campaign seeks to do the same for Solutionary Rail.Communication, publication, and organizing require time and consistency. We need the team to grow, to match the scope of our vision and reach. 

Many people like you have pitched in to our end-of-year fundraising drive. We are deeply grateful and encouraged. Together, we’ve been able to claim the $30k match to reach and surpass our $60k goal. At $72k, we are still $28k away from meeting our stretch goal of $100k. Meeting that goal is critical for expanding our team.

$28k seems like a lot to expect from the next few days, so Amy and I have come up with an alternate strategy: to expand the Lumbar Club. The Lumbar Club is the special group of people that make smaller, monthly donations that are less impactful on your budget, but make a critical difference for our budget.

We can make up the difference and meet our stretch goal over time IF 100 people commit to a monthly contribution proportionate to their capacity. For example:

60 solutionaries at $10 a month

30 solutionaries at $25 a month, and

10 solutionaries at $100 a month would close the gap with:

= $28,200

If we can expand our staff team, we’ll be far better prepared to meet and exceed our 2024 goals. (We might even be able to finally publish a new sequel to the Solutionary Rail book!)

A lot depends on what people like you do next. PLEASE, commit to making 2024 the most pivotal year yet for Solutionary Rail by making a tax-deductible donation today. Thank you for being a Solutionary!

In collaboration & gratitude,

Bill Moyer

Backbone Campaign · PO Box 278, Vashon, WA 98070, United States

Solutionary Rail is a project of the Backbone Campaign.

Donations can be made HERE and are tax-deductible, to the fullest extent of the law. EIN 93-1271427
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