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All aboard? Biden just nominated a former Boise City Council member for a national post

When Boise City Council Member Elaine Clegg stepped down in November to affix Valley Regional Transit as CEO, she informed the Idaho Statesman that “rail is a big issue of mine” and could be a focus for her within the new function on the regional public transportation authority for Ada and Canyon counties.

“I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to do regional rail here,” Clegg stated. “That could be a game-changer in terms of how people move around regionally in the valley.”

If rail was her plan, it appears she’s proper on observe. On Thursday, Valley Regional Transit introduced in a information launch that President Joe Biden had nominated Clegg to the Amtrak board of administrators.

Former Boise City Council Member Elaine Clegg stepped down in 2023 to join Valley Regional Transit. On Thursday, the organization announced that President Biden had nominated Clegg to Amtrak’s board of directors. Darin Oswald/doswald@idahostatesman.comFormer Boise City Council Member Elaine Clegg stepped down in 2023 to join Valley Regional Transit. On Thursday, the organization announced that President Biden had nominated Clegg to Amtrak’s board of directors. Darin Oswald/doswald@idahostatesman.com

Former Boise City Council Member Elaine Clegg stepped down in 2023 to affix Valley Regional Transit. On Thursday, the group introduced that President Biden had nominated Clegg to Amtrak’s board of administrators. Darin Oswald/[email protected]

“This appointment reflects Clegg’s leadership, dedication to public transportation, and commitment to advancing the nation’s rail infrastructure,” in line with the discharge. “Her nomination to the Amtrak Board of Directors is a testament to her innovative thinking and tireless advocacy for improving transportation options for this region.”

In the discharge, Clegg stated she is raring to serve at a second when passenger rail is “making a comeback” and the West is in search of to broaden its railways. Boise hasn’t been served by Amtrak in 27 years.

An Amtrak train at the Boise Depot in the 1970s. Amtrak served Boise at the depot from 1977 to 1997. Private interstate railroad service at the depot began in 1925 and ended in 1971, according to the city of Boise’s history of the depot. Statesman fileAn Amtrak train at the Boise Depot in the 1970s. Amtrak served Boise at the depot from 1977 to 1997. Private interstate railroad service at the depot began in 1925 and ended in 1971, according to the city of Boise’s history of the depot. Statesman file

An Amtrak practice on the Boise Depot within the Nineteen Seventies. Amtrak served Boise on the depot from 1977 to 1997. Private interstate railroad service on the depot started in 1925 and resulted in 1971, in line with town of Boise’s historical past of the depot. Statesman file

“I feel if we don’t get a deal with on providing transportation decisions, we’ll comply with the trail of many Western cities that sprawl without end — ‘till their traffic gets so bad that they have to do something else,” she told the Statesman in November.

The announcement comes after a revelation in March that Idaho missed out on a $500,000 federal grant to study the return of an Amtrak line — because the Idaho Transportation Department accidentally applied for the wrong grant, the Statesman previously reported. The grant would have allowed the region to explore the costs to bring back passenger rail between Caldwell and Salt Lake City, and could have opened the door to significantly more funding down the road.

As the Statesman reported in December, Boise and its surrounding cities haven’t had passenger rail service since 1997. Amtrak ran trains alongside the Pioneer Line, which included stops in Portland, Boise, Salt Lake City and Denver, for 20 years, however ridership was low and federal funds cuts pressured its closure.

Multiple Idaho political leaders in each events have pushed to carry Amtrak again. Among them are Boise Mayor Lauren McLean, a Democrat; and Gov. Brad Little, U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, and U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, all Republicans.

“This was an error and we feel bad, but mistakes happen,” a spokesperson for ITD, informed the Statesman in March.

Clegg’s nomination awaits Senate affirmation. The launch didn’t specify a time-frame for that course of.

‘This has been the joy of my life’: Boise City Council member stepping down to become CEO

Idaho sought Amtrak return for a Boise-Salt Lake City rail line. What the feds decided

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