Re: Amtrak routes in jeopardy for not having Anderson's mandated PTC.
Author: Erik H.
Date: 07-08-2018 - 22:04
Sgt. Joe Friday Wrote:
> 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?
How about you do a little research of your own (not from NARP or other pro-rail advocacy groups that have zero incentive of providing factual information contrary to their views).
The FAA, which runs the Air Traffic Control system, is very largely self-funded. Airlines, pilots and aircraft owners pay a slew of taxes that pays for all that. Does Amtrak have to pay for a "N Number" on their locomotives? Diesel tax? Pay each time they use a station? Pay in order to use the railroads' dispatching centers? Nope. Do Amtrak engineers have to pay for check rides with a FRA designated engineer inspector? Nope.
Even though virtually all commercial service airports are "publicly owned" most of them are operated as enterprise funds and are self-funded, or receive grants from the FAA (again, which is funded through taxes on the airlines) for major capital improvements. My local airports don't even get any property tax revenue, and are self-funding enterprises that even pay for their own police and fire departments and public works departments, and don't rely on the services of a city. (The airports actually subsidize marine terminals, which incidently are the largest origin/destination of railroad freight traffic in my state.) When has Amtrak paid taxes into a fund in order to pay for new stations? Never. How many Amtrak stations are profitable stand-alone facilities? Few.
And the airlines don't get a Congressional appropriation every time they want to order 50 737s.
Your comparison is backwards. If Amtrak and the airlines were to be on a level playing field, it's Amtrak's passengers who would see their fares increase significantly. Start by paying a Passenger Facility Charge. Amtrak Police security tax. Fuel surcharge. Amtrak's fares would at a bare minimum double overnight - 200% increase - to pay for all the costs that Amtrak currently gets for free, but the airlines are required to pay. Would you still ride Amtrak for all your intercity transportation with a 200-300% fare increase on each trip? Your $175 Seattle-Los Angeles coach fare on Amtrak is now closer to $500.