Friday, March 1, 2013

Trib keeps yammering on rail

The Trib's local rail fanboy, Ted Jackovics, is at it again, with yet another biased pro-rail article. For some reason, he can only quote from the Brookings Institution, a left leaning pro-rail think tank.

The print version of the headline:
Expert urges national rail plan
The online version:
Report: Tampa ridership up, but fiscal woes plague Amtrak
We'll wonder about the difference another day...

Here's from the online version:
The Brookings report recommends creating a national rail plan that would include a dedicated funding source for rail investments and an agreement between Amtrak and states to share operating costs for longer corridors.
"We are the only developed economy that does not have a national rail plan," Tomer said. "We are behind the planning curve."
Amtrak's fiscal problems can be linked to a failure to address the fiscal reality that most of its successful routes are relatively short, while the cross-country routes lose millions of dollars each year, the report indicates.
In Tampa, for example, the rail line offers only one northbound and southbound train a day. The limited schedule means the shorter runs to Orlando and Jacksonville probably aren't as popular as they would be if more trips were offered.
But Florida doesn't offer any state money for more frequent, short-haul passenger service. Fifteen other states do offer such money, including North Carolina, Illinois and California, according to the report.
Amtrak officials are working on a strategic plan aimed at operating more efficiently.
"When we're done, Amtrak will look more like a business and less like a government agency," Amtrak President and Chief Executive Joe Boardman told Congress in November.
Amtrak was created in 1970 as a for-profit enterprise with stock issued only to railroads.
 Emphasis mine.

So, help me out here. Amtrak was created 43 years ago to make money.  It's not making money, and we've not had a plan all these years.

Amtrak accounts for just 0.1% of the nation's passenger travel but gets more taxpayer dollars than other popular modes of transportation such as buses and airlines. Over the past five years, Amtrak has received an annual taxpayer subsidy of more than $1.4 billion. All that money is spent without a plan according Bookings.

Does any of this make any sense to you?

Perhaps Amtrak should be totally privatized.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently Brookings wants more of this: For anybody who's ever boarded a train hungry and been forced to cough up the better part of $20 for a burger and a beer, it's terribly frustrating to learn that that sad $9.50 hamburger actually costs taxpayers more than $16. The main reasons government auditors found for that: Theft, waste, and bad oversight. "