Trains gaining as sensible alternative to cars - from the San Francisco Chronicle.
"The car may still be king in California, but with drivers tiring of traffic congestion and feeling the pinch of high gas prices, the train is quickly gaining popularity.
Ridership is booming on three intrastate Amtrak lines that are primarily managed and paid for by the state."
From my house in Oakland you could take one bus to the Amtrak station (ok it's a SLOW bus) and go to Sacramento, Seattle or San Diego from there. However, once you arrive at the station, you might find that the train is hours late, and may be further delayed after you board. Now we need to fund Amtrak so the trains run on time.
Remember that the government funds highways and airports - supporting the rail infrastructure is simply a different but equivalent choice, not a "new tax." I think many aspects of our quality of life will improve if we promote rail travel and reduce private car trips. We will continue to use the private car, don't get me wrong. But public transit builds community as well as saves the planet.