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EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- A visible protest on the University of Oregon campus today with students rallys for light rail.
OSPIRG or the "Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group" organized today's rally with the theme "Fast trains are cool." About 50 students showed up in support of it, marching through the University of Oregon campus near the Erb Memorial Union.
The efforts today drew the attention and praise of North Eugene's State Representative Nancy Nathanson. She's working with the Oregon Legislature to work on funding repairs for rail lines in Oregon, to increase train speed on those tracks to 65 miles per hour.
Representative Nathanson says, "We don't have to be waiting for the kind of population and the kind of money we need to support a bullet train for example, we're just talking about trying to get better and faster and more rail."
Students are excited for the prospect of high speed rail because of what it means for travel around the region. University of Oregon Junior and OSPIRG volunteer Katie Ericson participated in today's rally. "To think that I can go to Seattle for the day is amazing because it would cost so much less and with the state of the economy, I think everyone is looking for less," says Ericson.
In a recent round of Federal Stimulus funds, Oregon requested more than 2 billion dollars worth of funds for projects. It was granted around 600-million dollars of that. Most of that money will go to improve rail lines between Oregon and Washington. In Oregon, only 8 million dollars went to improve Portland's Union Station.
A proposed high speed rail corridor in the Pacific Northwest would run on existing rail lines between Vancouver B.C. and Eugene. OSPIRG says a true high speed rail line between those two cities would carry 3 million people each year.
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