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Sat, May 28

Community View | All aboard the ‘AutoTrain’

Kingman is seeking ideas for transportation projects. Ambitious residents should support an expansion of Amtrak’s “AutoTrain” service to Kingman.

Amtrak’s AutoTrain is a daily train service where passengers ride in coach or sleeper cars while their vehicles are carried as freight. Having run since the 1970s between Orlando and Washington, D.C., AutoTrain currently produces the highest revenue of any long-distance Amtrak train. The service is a proven winner and due for expansion.

There are several reasons Kingman would be an appealing location for an AutoTrain terminal. Situated between Chicago and Los Angeles, Kingman is a natural stop for disembarkation to Las Vegas or Phoenix, as neither have their own passenger stations. Further, Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon are nearby for travelers bringing their own vehicles via rail. The location is ideal for the region’s snowbirds, who could relocate without the need for extended interstate travel, or, storing a second vehicle at a seasonal home. Kingman Airport, controlled by the City, has the space and industrial zoning suited to adding the service. Standing at the confluence of I-40, Route 66, Highway 93 and Highway 68, and visited twice a day by Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, Kingman is a natural transportation hub and ideal target for such a terminal.

The investment in this service would pay dividends. Kingman Airport would stand to benefit with the infrastructure spending both improving the facilities at the airport, and, making Kingman Airport a viable destination for air travelers. Families or groups disembarking from an AutoTrain terminal at Kingman Airport could coordinate with others arriving by air and share the same rail-transported vehicle. The job of loading automobiles on freight cars would spur local employment. Businesses would benefit from services and lodging provided to travelers. Also, AutoTrain travel, while popular, is still novel, and its availability could be aggressively advertised by the city, drawing interest in Kingman as a unique destination.

With Kingman Airport finally back in the city’s hands and growing bipartisan support for investments in infrastructure, now would be a perfect time for Kingman to be ambitious. Ask your local, state and federal representatives to support AutoTrain service to Kingman.

(Gary Waters is a resident of Kingman.)

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