Day on the Hill
-By Victoria Principato
It’s been a whirlwind week here in the District! Between finalizing our trip plans and meeting with Congressional Offices, Cate and I haven’t been able to spend much time outside in the beautiful D.C. summer weather. That being said, I'm sure our Summer by Rail journey will make up for it!
This past week, Cate, myself, NARP staff, and Amtrak had the opportunity to meet with Congressional Offices on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of maintaining our rail systems. To be perfectly honest, before interning with the National Association of Railway Passengers, I didn’t know much about why rail systems need to be maintained. I’m a finance major, and business school doesn’t exactly prepare you for learning about our nation’s infrastructure. That being said, after spending some time on the Hill and with the NARP team, I’ve definitely come to a greater understanding of the importance of maintaining our nation’s railroads and increasing service to under-served regions.
We met with transportation staffers from a variety of Congressional offices along our route to talk about groups we should meet, projects we should tour -- even fun things we should do! It's pretty amazing the level of knowledge these staffers have about the districts their bosses represent, and it was a real privilege to be able to pick their brains.
(It also helped drive home what a great project this is, since nearly everyone we met with thought it was just about the greatest internship they'd ever heard of, and wondered if NARP would consider doing a version for adult professionals on sabbatical!)
It's also worth mentioning how invaluable it was to have Amtrak's outreach and government relations team with us. They were able to answer all the difficult questions about Amtrak's sprawling national network -- and with more than 500 stations across 46 states, there're a lot of details to keep track of.
The next step is to follow up on all the leads we got from our meetings. A big task, but an exciting one!