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View Full Version : Budget Issue: Amtrak -- Live or Die?


Amnorix
02-22-2005, 04:57 PM
Might as well start addressing some of these budget proposals. My understanding based on my brief reading is that the PResident proposes greatly reducing funding for Amtrak, which got $1.2 Billion from the Feds last year.

Question -- keep funding Amtrak through its indefinite losses, or let market forces control, and let it die?

I suspect I know how this will turn out, but let me state a few things in favor of keeping it:

1. It provides access for people who are far from airports to move around the country. Rural areas have access to cross-country transportation that they otherwise wouldn't have.

2. Airport congestion is at an all-time high, and isn't looking to improve anytime soon. Amtrak has 25 million passengers annually. Forcing them to drive or take the plane isn't going to help road or air traffic congestion.

3. Trains are much more environmentally friendly than planes or cars, on a per person-moved basis.

4. [Some kind of Americana, history of the US argument, that some people might make, but that I could care less about]

Michael Michigan
02-22-2005, 05:56 PM
You are going to have to work gay sex into this somehow to get any responses.

;)

jcl-kcfan2
02-22-2005, 06:06 PM
Why can't AMTRAK be profitable/sustainable on it's own merits then?

Amnorix
02-22-2005, 06:45 PM
Why can't AMTRAK be profitable/sustainable on it's own merits then?

I'm no expert, but I think that it competes with lower cost interstate busing in the areas where ridership is high (i.e Northeast corridor, etc.). It's squeezed in too many directions.

Boozer
02-22-2005, 07:20 PM
Kill it. I doubt this will be the end of passenger rail service in the U.S.

Garcia Bronco
02-22-2005, 07:38 PM
The governement should not be funding this company...it's that same dammn thing with airlines. Let the market determine if it survives. It has to be profitable...and it's obviously not.

Amnorix
02-22-2005, 07:39 PM
Kill it. I doubt this will be the end of passenger rail service in the U.S.

I agree, but I think passenger rail service would become restricted to high traffic corridors, such as Boston/NY/Philly/DC, various areas in Texas, etc. I think coast to coast would probably be a goner.

Taco John
02-22-2005, 07:40 PM
Let it die.

Once it's dead, someone who can compete will move in and we'll get a real cross country track that meets modern needs...

Hercules Rockefell
02-22-2005, 08:07 PM
Haven't seen the numbers recently, but a couple years ago only 2 of their lines made money on a per passenger basis, and one was only a couple bucks a passenger. Some lines were losing a ton of money on a per passenger basis. Privaize it, someone else figure out how to make passenger rail service work instead of the government.

KCWolfman
02-22-2005, 08:17 PM
Let it die.

Once it's dead, someone who can compete will move in and we'll get a real cross country track that meets modern needs...
Yuck.

I agree, 100%

SBK
02-22-2005, 09:40 PM
Yuck.

I agree, 100%

I was almost gonna type word for word what TJ did too. Jeez. :deevee:

WilliamTheIrish
02-23-2005, 12:06 AM
It ain't "Ridin' on The City of New Orlean"s.... no mo'.

Eliminate it.

I already have a great idea for a Midwest route from KC to Denver.

The "hOOters" train.

I may have to bid...

Rausch
02-23-2005, 05:15 AM
Let it die.

Once it's dead, someone who can compete will move in and we'll get a real cross country track that meets modern needs...

Agreed.

I'm still pissed we forked over all that jack for the airlines...

Amnorix
02-23-2005, 05:52 AM
Agreed.

I'm still pissed we forked over all that jack for the airlines...

I knew we did some bailouts for Airlines in the past, but didn't know that we directly subsidized them. Anyone have details on this?

I guess it's pretty much unanimous to let Amtrak die. I'm okay with it, for the most part. Now it's convincing rural Congresspeople in the relevant districts.

Rausch
02-23-2005, 06:03 AM
I knew we did some bailouts for Airlines in the past, but didn't know that we directly subsidized them. Anyone have details on this?

I guess it's pretty much unanimous to let Amtrak die. I'm okay with it, for the most part. Now it's convincing rural Congresspeople in the relevant districts.

Bailouts are all I'm aware of.

But funding the RR's is insane. I called Amtrack to see If I could take a train from Central Mo. to Florida. The only way was a 4 day trip, first from mo to DC area, then down the east coast to florida for around $400.

How the hell is that competitive?

Twice as long and twice as expensive as taking a flight. No thanks...

KCWolfman
02-23-2005, 04:02 PM
Bailouts are all I'm aware of.

But funding the RR's is insane. I called Amtrack to see If I could take a train from Central Mo. to Florida. The only way was a 4 day trip, first from mo to DC area, then down the east coast to florida for around $400.

How the hell is that competitive?

Twice as long and twice as expensive as taking a flight. No thanks...
Actually only about 1.3 times as expensive, but more like 12 times as long.

Definitely not competitive. I could drive at an average of 40 miles per hour and make it twice as fast and still take time out to sleep for almost 8 hours.

Rausch
02-23-2005, 04:14 PM
Actually only about 1.3 times as expensive, but more like 12 times as long.

I flew to Atlanta out of KCI 2 months later for $200...

Definitely not competitive. I could drive at an average of 40 miles per hour and make it twice as fast and still take time out to sleep for almost 8 hours.

Exactly. When we drove down it took me and Grimm 36 hours in some of the worst driving conditions known to man.

KCWolfman
02-23-2005, 04:20 PM
I flew to Atlanta out of KCI 2 months later for $200...



Exactly. When we drove down it took me and Grimm 36 hours in some of the worst driving conditions known to man.
Atlanta is a major hub. Very few flights go direct from MCI (Kansas City) to anywhere in Florida without that connection in Atl. Thus the reason it usually costs about 325.00 - 375.00. I fly my niece round trip at least once a year from Tampa to here.

ENDelt260
02-23-2005, 04:54 PM
Heh... when I read the thread title I thought maybe you were traveling somewhere, considering taking a train to save some cash, but concerned about dying in a derailment.

Boozer
02-23-2005, 05:21 PM
Heh... when I read the thread title I thought maybe you were traveling somewhere, considering taking a train to save some cash, but concerned about dying in a derailment.

ROFL. Amtrak, the only form of transportation more dangerous than hitchhiking.

Amnorix
02-23-2005, 05:28 PM
Heh... when I read the thread title I thought maybe you were traveling somewhere, considering taking a train to save some cash, but concerned about dying in a derailment.

ROFLROFL