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 Post subject: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:41 am 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 168
Location: Northern WV
The CNN web site has an article concerning Amtrak with the focus of how much it costs the taxpayer. No mention was made of how much money we send to countries that hate us.
http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/23/politics/ ... index.html

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Roger Cole


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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1903
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Ah yes, the "but I want it" argument when it comes to tax-paid stuff:
Person A: We're wasting money on that!
Person B: But I want to keep it around!
Person A: Hardly anyone gets benefit from it, though.
Person B: Yeah... well... look how much money that is spent on [insert other program Person B doesn't care about here]! We're wasting money on that!
Just sayin'. I love Amtrak as much as the next train buff (and yes, I have ridden it this year, I crossed the entire country on Amtrak with my wife and some friends) but there is a point to how few Americans are served by Amtrak or even ride it if they do have access...

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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:21 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 8:31 am
Posts: 343
Location: Morganton, N.C.
How 'bout all the money that goes towards propping up [pun intended] the airline industry? Amtrak's share of tax money is nothing compared to the tax money that airlines receives, from local, state and federal governments. Want to complain? Point the finger (you can choose which one) at the airline industry.

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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2431
Does your local interstate turn a profit on passenger revenues?


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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Jerry, Bob, thanks for making exactly the point I previously posted.
Instead of pointing fingers at other programs, it's actually the best tactic to defend the value of whatever you're supporting. Otherwise, it smacks of desperation. Space program fans have been aware of this for years in regard to NASA's budget. Griping about all the other more expensive stuff out there is no answer, you must get the folks with the purse strings to see the value in funding whatever you want to keep around.
I'm honestly surprised at how few train buffs seem to grasp this.

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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:24 pm
Posts: 102
We had an Amtrak representative give a presentation to my local NRHS Chapter, and one thing she said caught my attention:

"Amtrak is currently recovering 93% of operating costs."

This is much better than I (and almost everyone in the room) thought they were doing.


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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 10:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 6:07 pm
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Poorly written. The title is pretty naive. Every time we fly, or drive on a highway, we are also doing it "on the government's dime." The piece implies that Mica was interviewed on the SW Chief, but he is interviewed in what appears to be an Amfleet I coach seat, so he wasn't on that trip at all. Mica says Amtrak is a monopoly, which is a veiled reference to his belief that privatization is the answer; but the article makes no serious attempt to present any counter argument. Heavy concentration on Amtrak subsidies with no mention of subsidies to other modes, and no mention of environmental advantages of rail service. This thing is much too simplistic to be of any use to anybody who wants to take a serious look at Amtrak's circumstances.

Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8353
Location: Baltimore, MD
as12 wrote:
We had an Amtrak representative give a presentation to my local NRHS Chapter, and one thing she said caught my attention:

"Amtrak is currently recovering 93% of operating costs."


I could live very well also if I didn't have to pay for my capital and infrastructure. Just like teenagers who don't have to pay for the mortgage/rent, insurance, car payment, tax bill, food in the refrigerator/pantry, etc. have a good thing going, y'know?


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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 12:39 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
Posts: 3030
Location: Inwood, W.Va.
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
as12 wrote:
We had an Amtrak representative give a presentation to my local NRHS Chapter, and one thing she said caught my attention:

"Amtrak is currently recovering 93% of operating costs."


I could live very well also if I didn't have to pay for my capital and infrastructure. Just like teenagers who don't have to pay for the mortgage/rent, insurance, car payment, tax bill, food in the refrigerator/pantry, etc. have a good thing going, y'know?


My complaint about things like this is the double standard a railroad has to live with. It's expected to be "profitable," but its competing highway or airport is not expected to be so. Same thing with a trail vs. a heritage road--we have to prove we can live on our own and make money, the trail doesn't.

When your gas taxes only pay about half of what the road system costs, well, if you are a railroad, or if you want to advocate for passenger service, then you have to deal with the fact that you are in a rigged game, one that is rigged against you.

Is it any wonder so much of what we appreciate in railroading disappeared, given that the economic environment has been poisoned for 80 years or more?

This isn't new. . .check out this film from the 1950s (and yes, it has F units, NKP 2-8-4s, and NKP PAs!) at about 13:30:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD8bJ0K93EQ


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 Post subject: Re: Riding the Amtrak rails on the government's dime
PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 12:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2072
Tom Davidson wrote:
Poorly written. The title is pretty naive. Every time we fly, or drive on a highway, we are also doing it "on the government's dime." The piece implies that Mica was interviewed on the SW Chief, but he is interviewed in what appears to be an Amfleet I coach seat, so he wasn't on that trip at all. Mica says Amtrak is a monopoly, which is a veiled reference to his belief that privatization is the answer; but the article makes no serious attempt to present any counter argument. Heavy concentration on Amtrak subsidies with no mention of subsidies to other modes, and no mention of environmental advantages of rail service. This thing is much too simplistic to be of any use to anybody who wants to take a serious look at Amtrak's circumstances.

Tom


The government built the highways so we are riding on their dollar. But it also killed a lot of interurbans, directly note how the CA&E was bonked when the Eisenhower expressway was built.


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