Blog Master G

Word. And photos, too.

Blog Master G random header image

Save Amtrak

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005 · 2 Comments

It’s an absolute outrage that a mere $1.2 billion is threatened to be cut from the federal budget that would essentially mean the end of Amtrak. This country was founded on the backbone of the railroad and there’s no reason why that relatively small subsidy shouldn’t continue to support the nation’s railroad system. We need it. The reasons are many.

There’s our over-zealous reliance on cars and ever-rising oil prices. There’s our self-isolating desire to ride in cars instead of with each other in trains. There’s the health impact: More cars equal more pollution, which means more breathing problems, which means greater impact on the healthcare system. You can begin to see how we’re talking about a hell of a lot more than $1.2 billion if we don’t save Amtrak.

Please urge your representatives in Congress to save Amtrak.

Times Union / Keep Amtrak rolling:

It’s still not too late for Mr. Sweeney to make believers out of non-believers and open the eyes of those hawks who can’t see beyond their own narrow constituencies. The strongest argument for an Amtrak subsidy is still the economic one. The railroad reduces auto congestion in heavily populated regions of the nation, and that, in turn, reduces the need to build more highways to accommodate more automobiles. Amtrak’s $1.2 billion subsidy might seem large, but it is modest compared with the $284 billion transportation package now being assembled in Congress.

Judge strikes down ban on same-sex marriage

Tags: rants

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jonty // Mar 15, 2005 at 11:46 am

    I use Amtrak quite often…. or at least, I used to, when I was trekking between NYC and Boston. I enjoyed the experience, and always found the ride enjoyable.

    That is why it saddens me that I support the decision to stop funding Amtrak.

    The major problems with Amtrak are the labor unions, followed by poor management. Think of the problems that the airline carriers are experiencing right now. In many ways, the only way that the airlines can continue to exist (most say) is to enter bankrupcy, shed all the BS labor and vendor contracts they have, and tweak their business models in the process. (Many of the major carriers admit that their business models need reform, but they are unable to address the reforms b/c they will still be saddled with excess labor, planes, equipment, etc…)

    This is the problem that Amtrak faces, but worse, because Amtrak is forced to continue service across the country that is simply not profitable. Why? Congress forces them.

    If the subsidies are halted, Amtrak will default, and be sold off in chunks. The unprofitable routes will be shut down, and the profitable routes (like the Northeastern Corridor route) will be privatized.

    Ultimately, this will lead to lower fares where people take the train, and no service where there are not enough people to run a profitable route.

    What does this mean for me, then? It means that my ticket from NYC to Boston will be cheaper b/c I won’t have to subsidize the cost of the ticket prices from NYC to Long Beach, CA.

    I’d love to see inter-city railways running at 250MPH, like other countries have… unfortunately, the only way I think we can get there is through private enterprise…. or private-public enterprise. (This is what NJ Transit has done with the Northern NJ light rail system… which has won a number of awards, by the way.)


  • 2 Seth // Mar 16, 2005 at 3:29 pm

    I think it is CRAZY that rail service in this country isn’t being expanded, never mind cut. Where the hell are these peoples heads? When I lived in Boston I found it to be a joy to take the T everywhere. It was fast, quiet, there where interesting people, and I could get some work or reading done if I was going a long distance.
    I for one am sick of cars. I really am. That is part of the reason I reside in Saratoga. I can leave my car parked and walk everywhere. If the rail system was better advertised and expanded upon, I and other people would utilize it much more, thus increasing it’s revenue. As it stands now, this nation treats the rail network like the hitchhiker I keeped hidden away in my basement.