Re: Amtrak routes in jeopardy for not having Anderson's mandated PTC.
Author: Sgt. Joe Friday
Date: 07-07-2018 - 08:35
Neither party gives a rat's ass about Amtrak. During his first two years in office, Obama had unified control of the government, and a supposed Amtrak supporter as his vice president, yet he did nothing because his priorities were different.
Amtrak has a problem. They're not a big enough player that their unionized employees matter to the Democrats, but they're just large enough to be visible and therefore a convenient punching bag for Republicans when they want to look "tough on waste." I tend to agree more with the GOP on most issues, but I cringe when they pick on Amtrak because they come off as innumerate, small-minded dolts who don't seem to understand that a $1.5 billion subsidy is basically a rounding error in a $4 trillion budget.
Taking people from one place to another is not a money making activity, absent government (taxpayer) participation. Airlines, buses, ferries, you name it, all function within an infrastructure that is funded from public coffers. This is not an original thought: David P. Morgan said it much more eloquently nearly 60 years when he devoted an entire issue of Trains magazine to "Who Shot the Passenger Trains?".
It's silly to expect Amtrak to cover 100% of its costs from ticket sales. If the airlines had to pay for and construct their own airports and run a functioning air traffic control system paid for out of ticket revenues, what would a trip from LA to SFO and back cost? $300? $500? $1000?