Amtrak is one of the biggest wastes of taxpayer dollars
Can you explain that one to me? That’s just your pure political animus right? Never mind the facts. The GAO recently published a study of the 25 programs most susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse, the FAA was on the list, but Amtrak was no where near it. (1), (2)
Indeed, Amtrak is improving greatly in its efforts to reform itself and make itself more transparent to outside scrutiny, a fact acknowledge by one on Amtrak’s most persistent critics, Sen. John McCain. (3), (4)
So please let me know how Amtrak is one of the biggest wastes of taxpayer dollars?
and the fact that they have never even turned a profit in thirty four years of operation is absolutely deplorable.
No, not deplorable. On a “fare box” accounting measure, passenger rail has never been profitable. It is not profitable in Europe nor Asia. It was not profitable for the Pennsylvania Railroad as well as all of the rest of the great railroad companies, which used its passenger service primarily as a way of advertising its rail network and freight services.
When you consider all the costs
that are actually incurred by other modes of transportation, than rail travel is indeed an extremely cost effective transportation mode.
If airlines are not receiving subsidies every year, neither should our antiquated train system.
I don’t know how you could write something so ridiculous, that even you
must know is wrong? Annually, the government spends more money supporting the FAA from the general fund (i.e., money not raised from airport user fees) than it spends on Amtrak—US$ 3.2 billion. (5)
Almost half of the FAAs budget is not
funded by user fees. It is a similar story for highway and road construction.
And, of course, all of this is on top of the enormous bailout the airlines received in 2004-- US$5 billion in cash and US$10 billion in loan guarantees. (6)
Realistically, there are only a couple of Amtrak routes that should be able to turn profits, most importantly the Boston-Washington route.
No, not really. The Northeast Corridor line makes a slight profit “above the rail”, but cannot cover its capital expenses nor the cost of updating its infrastructure. No private rail company would want it. (7)
Excellent news. Cutting government welfare programs is good thing. If only Bush would do more of it! Or any of it, for that matter. This'll probably be the first subsidy cut of his tenure, period.
Bush not only didn’t cut subsidies during his first 4 years, he greatly added to them. Bush has no interest in cutting the federal deficit. If he did he would have proposed cuts in major spending programs, not minor ones like Amtrak. One doesn’t cut a $500 billion dollar deficit by attacking programs that spends less than US$ 1 billion annually. Bush is just like Reagan, a big government, borrow and spend Republican.
Bush wants to put the final nail in the coffin of a rail service nobody uses.
No one uses?
You just have no idea what you are talking about, do you? There were 22 million journeys on Amtrak last year, about half of which were on the Northeast Corridor. But Amtrak ridership is dwarfed by the number of passengers on commuter railroads serving the urban areas of the Northeast, and which rely on Amtrak’s tracks, dispatchers, maintenance workers to function. For example consider just NJ
Transit alone, about 200,000 people use NJ
Transit trains on a typical weekday, and made a total of almost 60 million rail trips last year on NJ
Not to mention the numerous commuter passenger railroads along the Northeast Corridor.
But Bush should be careful. While he would no doubt like to stick it to the Northeasterners who voted heavily against and are the most consistent users of passenger rail, he also depends heavily on the Northeast to pay the bills for the social welfare programs that his loyal supporters in the South and West are so dependent on.
, read the report for yourself here: (2) http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05207.pdf