Amtrak

Amtrak Wants $75 Billion To Create More Money-Losing Routes

The company's 15-year "Corridor Vision" also asks Congress for the power to sue private railroads that don't prioritize its passenger trains.

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With "Amtrak Joe" at the helm, America's premier passenger rail service is going for broke with the release of its 15-year "Corridor Vision." The company's plan, which was published yesterday, calls for service improvements along 25 existing routes, the creation of another 39, and the expansion of service to 160 new cities across the country.

To bring this vision into reality, the for-profit Amtrak is asking for $75 billion in new federal funding and the power to enforce the prioritization of its own passenger trains' movement on tracks owned by private freight rail companies.

"Now is the time to invest in our country's infrastructure and future," said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn in a press release. "New and improved rail service has the ability to change how our country moves and provides cleaner air, less traffic and a more connected country."

Prior to the pandemic, Amtrak was receiving roughly $2 billion in federal subsidies each year. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 gave the company another $1 billion in bailout funds. The American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021, gave it another $1.69 billion.

President Joe Biden, a longtime booster of Amtrak, has proposed spending $80 billion on the company as part of his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan. Republicans have proposed a more modest $46 billion for passenger and freight rail, or $22 billion above current spending levels, in their latest infrastructure proposal.

Besides the price tag, both parties' infrastructure plans are pretty light on the details of how this money would be spent, however.

"Right now, in the infrastructure debate, we're not really talking about what we're going to build and what benefit that is supposed to provide. We're two sides bidding on top-line dollar amounts," says Marc Scribner, a senior transportation policy analyst at Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website. "Amtrak releasing this [plan] yesterday is them trying to get politicians to focus on discrete priorities and real-world implementation."

In a Wednesday letter to Congress, Flynn laid out four specific asks to lawmakers.

These include creating a "Corridor Development Program" that would use exclusively federal funds to establish new Amtrak routes and subsidize their early operation. Without that program, states would be expected to cover some of those costs.

Flynn has also asked Congress to create a "Passenger Rail Trust Fund" to provide the company with dedicated multiyear federal funding, similar to how the federal government funds highways. Currently, federal subsidies to Amtrak are approved on a year-by-year basis.

Amtrak also wants Congress to give it greater powers to expand its operations onto privately-owned "host railroads" and to sue railroad owners who don't sufficiently prioritize passenger trains over freight rail trains.

About 70 percent of the miles Amtrak trains travel are on these privately owned freight railroads, according to the Association of American Railroads. Opening up new routes, as the Corridor Vision calls for, would see Amtrak run even more trains on these privately-owned tracks, where they'd potentially be displacing lots of freight traffic.

"When Amtrak is talking about expanding service, they're not talking about building parallel track," says Scribner. "Whenever we're talking about Amtrak service expansion, the other side of that is freight rail service degradation."

Scribner notes that private, profitable freight rail companies also transport tonnage with far lower emissions than trucks. Should more passenger rail service lead to more freight being shipped on highways, that would count against Amtrak's own goals of more environmentally-friendly transportation.

Instead of opening up even more money-losing routes around the country, Scriber says Amtrak should focus its efforts on improving service in the Northeast Corridor, where it owns much of the tracks it uses and where it actually competes with intercity air and bus travel.

That they're loath to focus on that goal, and instead push for more routes to cities outside the Northeast Corridor, has a lot to do with politics. After all, why would a senator vote to fund a rail service that doesn't run through her state?

"Amtrak's primary customers aren't the riders, they're the politicians in Congress," says Scribner. This latest $75 billion Corridor Vision reflects that.

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  1. Well, with the California high-speed rail project successfully wrapping up, it’s time to start some new rail projects around the country.

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    2. Well, the thing to be remembered is that the freight railroads got massive land grants from Congress with the promise (obligation) to provide passenger service, which never made money. Nor was it expected to — the land grant was the subsidy.

      When it was run by the railroads, passenger rail was subsidized by both the Railroad Post Offices (the US Mail being shipped by rail as opposed to planes & trucks) and by freight marketing — impressing businessmen with the quality of the passenger service so they’d ship freight with that railroad and not a competitor.

      Amtrak was created *for* the railroads so they could discontinue passenger service — I don’t have a problem with obligating them to give the passenger trains priority over freights as they had when the railroads were obligated to provide passenger service.

      1. Lifted most of that off a y-t propaganda piece, didn’t you?
        Tell us the duration of that obligation, please, and stuff it up your butt

      2. Its long past time to drop the obligation. Those land grants were well over a century ago and have served their purpose in getting early rail started – but we don’t need rail at all anymore (for passenger service).

        1%.

        That’s the *total* percentage of long distance travel in this country by rail. 2% is by bus. Would you be ok with forcing cars off the road in order to let Greyhound move faster?

        We should be encouraging shipping to get off the roads and onto trains and people off trains and onto planes and roads – not the other way around.

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  2. The same mode of transportation from the 1800’s is somehow the future.

    1. …that the US Govt wrecked in the mid 1900s…

      Were getting railroaded by Groper Joe!

      1. In fairness, WW-II and the demands that the military placed on the railroads did a lot of damage to them.

        As old and poorly maintained equipment was pressed into service by necessity during the war years, a lot of people had a negative view of rail travel after the war. And at war’s end, everything — from the tracks to the equipment — was largely worn out and needing replacement. At the very time that cars & trucks arrived.

        Freight railroads may be profitable *now* — they were all in bankruptcy in the 1970s & 1980s, with hundreds of miles of track being abandoned annually.

        1. More y-t propaganda.
          Buzz off.

        2. In the *US* – or in Europe?

          Because there wasn’t a lot of need to move troops across the US to fight an invasion.

          They were in bankruptcy in the 1970’s and ’80’s because they were heavily unionized and the unions had ridiculous power backed by government.

          Did you know it wasn’t until 1985 that the ‘fireman’ was deprecated *on diesel trains*?

          In other words, diesel trains had to carry a fireman – who’s job is to shovel coal into the boiler – on a train that didn’t carry coal or use a boiler.

          1. That was just on a federal level and only for freight trains.

            Passenger trains still carried them for many more years and some states still required them.

            And just that little bit for federal law over freight trains took 26 years after the switchover to diesel.

    2. well, developed countries have developed infrastructure…especially with the large distances involved in the US. Travelling by train beats taking a car . It’s currently priced far too highly, but if it became affordable it could be transformational.

      1. Exactly. Transportation is KEY to a thriving society. When transportation is clean, on time, and inexpensive (whatever the type), economies BOOM. Transportation systems are the life blood of economies.

        1. Transportation IS essential. BUT.. we have already the best system of transporting GOODS… railroads today move more tonnage more miles with a better on time record and lower cost per tonne mile than any other system anywhere. WHY? Private enterprise. It came down to either “do it faster/better/cheaper/reliabler or stop doing it. No other nation moves so uch freight so cheaply and quickly and reliably.

          But when it comes to passengers… different ballgame. Air teavel is FAR sup
          erior. There are SO MANY places accross this nation where the train don’t go, and never will. Even those off in the boonies corners can be reached relatively cheaply by air travel. I’ve looked into AMTrak in the recent past for travel. What I can drive in one long day, AmTrak takes two and a half. With high fuel costs, that distance would burn under $100 for the trip. I can eat when and what and where I want, in a few minutes, cheaply. AmTrak I’m stuck with their rotten grub at the statioins, noisey , stinky, lousey food for three times what it could ever get at any mall eat on stand. And the ticket soct? Near $300. Hah! That made it a no brainer.

          I use AmTrak locally when I need to get to the next city, say, to pick up or drop off a car. Cost is above driiving my thirsty van, it takes twice as long, but it works, mostly.

          1. Democrats and other progressives are surely okay with subsidizing passenger train service. Many developed nations subsidize passenger rail, especially in Europe. China does too – but perhaps that’s not a fair example. Democrats will keep pushing the “for the good of the country” narrative on passenger rail and other public transit projects, even if such projects make little economic sense.

        2. *Functional* transportation is key to a thriving society. If Amtrak died tomorrow, theism thriving society wouldn’t notice.

      2. Traveling by air beats a train.

        1. Meh. Not so sure of that. Traveling by air certainly beats traveling by government run train. Put the government in charge of the air service and I don’t think I’d be willing to set foot in a plane, much less fly in one.

          1. A. Hitler had Govt run trains!

            Free!

          2. Put the government in charge of the air service

            Commercialize passenger rail and traveling by air still beats a train.

          3. Sure – but you notice that there are precious few private passenger trains but tons of private airlines.

            That’s not because AmTrak is squeezing them out.

            Its because no one wants to take a train except in very limited areas.

            So the comparison is apt because there’s tons of money to be made in airlines – which is why there are so many – and no money to be made in passenger rail – so if there wasn’t a government train there would be no train at all.

            And we’d be richer for it.

        2. We certainly haven’t seen Joe the Creep leaving Air Force One behind and hopping on Amtrak One to go anywhere!

          1. …must not be any Little Girls to grope on the train!

      3. “…but if it became affordable it could be transformational.”

        Imagine if pigs could fly!

        1. Why, they could replace airplanes!

            1. Transport on the way over, luau the next morning!

              1. Did a roast piglet on a spit once; my gripes included it taking a long time, and that there was not nearly enough pig!
                De-LISH!

          1. no, airlines replaced trains

          2. ” Planes, Trains and Uber rides” just doesnt ‘ pop’…

      4. “Travelling by train beats taking a car.”

        If that were true, there would be more travel by train than by car. That doesn’t happen even in corridors that have both.

        1. Yep. One more assertion from a watermelon hoping to pass muster as a fact.

      5. Travelling by train beats taking a car .

        It’s currently priced far too highly,

        So it beats taking a car – except that it doesn’t? You really posted these two sentences, one after the other.

        The US has massive infrastructure – they’re called ‘roads’ and *’airports’*. Why in the hell would you take a train when you could take a place for less than half-the cost and a 6th the travel time?

    3. “The same mode of transportation from the 1800’s is somehow the future.”

      It’s no more the same mode of transportation than a road is the same technology that the Romans used.

      Today, even with Amtrak’s incompetence, one can go from Boston to Washington DC by train in less than seven hours. When the 6th Massachusetts traveled the same route in 1861, they arrived in New York the following morning and had only made it to Philadelphia by nightfall….

      Four hours versus two days — it’s not the same technology!!!

      The freight trains of today — often more than a mile long with railcars weighing up to 125 tons each. Doublestacked 53′ boxes, essentially how the freight railroads make money, were invented in 1984.

      Ribbon rail is 1/4 mile long. A dispatcher a hundred miles away not only knows where every train is but can stop it if necessary. A far cry from flags and telegraph…

      1. Still no need for passenger trains.

      2. Its an hour and 40 minutes to fly that route.

        Throw in 3 hours of waiting for security at the front and an hour for your luggage at the back and . . . you’re still flying it faster than taking a train.

        Or you could drive it in 7 hours – yes, takes the train the same amount of time as driving it. And you’ll have your car with you when you get there.

    4. the automobile was invented in the 1880’s. Still using it.

  3. Wow. Still more “trains to nowhere.”

    1. yes but it doesnt matter if theyre late!

      1. That’s literally true – the only people taking Amtrak (outside the NE anyway) are people who are retired or on vacation. They don’t need to care about time-tables.

        So why would we need to prioritize them over freight is beyond me.

  4. Just so they run on time….

    1. They don’t run on time.

  5. We need a rail line to connect Hawaii to the mainland. Come on, man!

    1. Can the train be yellow?

      1. For the $20 trillion* it will cost to build, no. But for an extra trillion, we can do that.

        *official GAO estimate, to be exceeded later.

  6. more trains, windmills, and ripping up roads. gonna be a hell of a decade.

  7. Hey jackass- the government is there to provider SERVICES for citizens, not turn a profit. Morons.

    1. Point to the part of the constitution that requires the USA build and maintain rail lines, shitlunches.

      Take your forced wealth transfer and shove it.

      1. The government is dong plenty of forced wealth transfer upward from the middle class to the rich by structuring the tax code to incentivize rock-star salaries for CEOs and their boardroom colleagues while suppressing salaries and wages for the middle class. That’s pretty much the 2017 tax bill in a nutshell.

        1. Oh, please. Come talk to me when the bottom 50% pay their “fair share”.

        2. Wealth transfer bad unless it’s voluntary, change my mind.

        3. The government is dong plenty of forced wealth transfer upward from the middle class to the rich

          True, but it seems like the more obvious mechanism there is the new army of auditors and bank-account snoops that are going to fan out amongst the populace and raise a few extra trillion “without raising taxes.”

          You aren’t under the impression that auditors really do primarily go after rich people, are you?

        4. Agreed. “Piss/trickle-down” economics does not work…never has. The rich simply get (much) richer, and poor get poorer, and that benefits no one. We ALL do better, when we ALL do better. All anyone and everyone wants is a fair chance to work hard and the chance to do well. With the deck stacked massively in favor of the wealthy, fair chances are eliminated. Just look around the world. The countries with a strong middle class are vibrant, the countries with a large wealth gap are 3rd world.

          1. Of course there are no “trickle down” effects from rich to poor.
            By any objective measure, the wealth doesn’t trickle down, it FLOWS down.

          2. “Agreed. “Piss/trickle-down” economics does not work…never has..”

            Yeah, those people who went to work for Google way back when are all still poor, like the jealous piece of lefty shit you are.

          3. “All anyone and everyone wants is a fair chance to work hard….”

            Not by my observation.

          4. Yeah, I mean, after the Republicans passed their tax cuts for the wealthy in late 2017, all that happened in 2019 was the largest increase in median household income in decades, to the highest inflation-adjusted median household income in US history.

            Clearly “trickle-down” economics doesn’t work . . . on your planet, with its yellow glowing sky and light-sucking blue-black sun.

        5. “The government is dong plenty of forced wealth transfer upward from the middle class to the rich by structuring the tax code to incentivize rock-star salaries for CEOs and their boardroom colleagues while suppressing salaries and wages for the middle class…”

          The politics of envy brought to you by scumbag lefty shits

        6. Rock star salaries.

          We should seize assets from Keith Richards and Gene Simmons to pay for trains we don’t need or want.

          Nobody deserves that kind of money. And Kobe Bryant and LeBraun while we are at it.

        7. Everything Is So Terrible And Unfair! ™, shore.

    2. i missed that in the Constitution…

    3. “Hey jackass- the government is there to provider SERVICES for citizens, not turn a profit…”

      Hey, lefty shit, no one cares about dim-bulb assertions from assholes!

    4. No, the government is not a provider of random services for citizens.

      That’s why you pay taxes and not service fees.

      The government has a limited and defined role to play and its not ‘do everything’.

      Jackass.

    5. and that is why they spend billions on roads.

  8. Do you think everything has to be money-making and self-supporting? Is that how we got civilization?

    1. Affirming the consequent.

    2. d you think evertlything has to be a disaster of perpetual failure and debt?

      Do you have any capacity TO think?

      1. Roads (and infrastructure/transportation) have to be built FIRST. That’s the story of civilization since day one, even if it was only a footpath.

        1. Incorrect. First comes farming and specialization of labor. You don’t need roads until you start trading. Once you start trading, roads are built by traders.

          I think you’re thinking of something more like the Roman roads, which weren’t built for trade, but for moving troops, which is a different “story of civilization.”

        2. No they don’t.

          Like, they totally don’t. The majority of roads were built once there was a reason to go from a to b – not built and hope that a reason would come later.

        3. How do you think the footpath was created?

          Some dudes didn’t say ‘let’s walk to this random spot a whole lot because one day, in the future, if we do this a lot, there will be a reason for this footpath to exist’.

          They walked from a to be because there was a reason for them to go to b – and so the footpath was created.

    3. Yes, we got here because people made decisions that benefitted themselves and because in the course of attempting to be successful they pushed technology so they could get rich. Not everyone wants to spend their entire lives toiling in fields as farm equipment. If you believe our standard of living is better not by free market enterprise but because “magical people in government make things good” then you’re a useful idiot.

      1. Correct. “Individual ambition serves the common good”
        Adam Smith.

    4. “…Is that how we got civilization?”

      Pretty much. Fuck off lefty shit.

    5. I’d be happy to settle for a benefit-to-cost ratio greater than 1.0!

    6. Yes.

      Like yes, it actually totally is. Look at other places that tried to do things that aren’t money-making and self-supporting. They collapse. Often after decades of murder, brutality, and abject misery for the people forced to take part.

  9. I hate government waste. But, it is strange that so many people would rather drive, and often sit in traffic or slog along in a construction zone, than take a train on a trip under 300 miles.

    No matter how hard I try, I can’t drive from Chicago to Milwaukee in less than 2 hours and 10 minutes. Yet Amtrak, on tracks that aren’t high speed, does it in 90 minutes.

    Even after the speed limit went up in the 1990s, I can’t beat Amtrak on Chicago to Ann Arbor.

    Several years ago, I got stuck in a lengthy traffic jam on Interstate 5, driving from Orange County Airport to San Diego. Meanwhile, Amtrak zipped past the traffic.

    1. But once you arrive at your destination rail station, what do you use as transportation to arrive at your final destination? (Hint: it has four tires)

      1. and, at least in the hybrid and EV versions of four-tired transportation that are becoming ever more common, gets its best fuel mileage on short hops around town while being rather underwhelming on the highway. To each his own, but multi-modal transport is how we get around most of the time, just as with airports, ferries or even long-distance buses.

        1. Sounds luxurious.

      2. No kidding. But he still arrives fresher and quicker.

        1. I don’t give a shit about what you want to spend my money on. Fuck off.

        2. But he doesn’t. There is no place in the country where the train is faster than a car.

          1. And I don’t know about you – driving isn’t particularly taxing to me.

    2. No matter how hard I try, I can’t drive from Chicago to Milwaukee in less than 2 hours and 10 minutes. Yet Amtrak, on tracks that aren’t high speed, does it in 90 minutes.

      That’s fine. AS LONG AS I’M NOT THE ONE PAYING FOR IT.

      Milwaukee to Chicago costs $25 on Amtrak. There is no way that’s your actual cost. And if you have a problem with the drive time, it’s 50 minutes by air.

    3. As someone who used to commute by train in northern CA, I can help with this. I would bike to MacArthur BART in Oakland, take BART to Richmond where there is an Amtrak station, and then Amtrak to Davis, where I worked at the university.

      Door-to-door was about two hours, and even with the commuter discount it was about a $17 trip. It worked for me because I could grade papers on the train ride.

      Driving was about an a hour and twenty, and cost about $15, but parking in Davis is actually a bit of an issue, and I couldn’t do anything else productive while driving.

      IfAmtrak went to SF, I could see a number of people in the exurbs using it, but it doesn’t. And that’s the basic problem with trains for passengers – you have to go where the trains go, and you have limited ability to get anywhere that isn’t near a train station.

      Several years ago, I got stuck in a lengthy traffic jam on Interstate 5, driving from Orange County Airport to San Diego. Meanwhile, Amtrak zipped past the traffic.

      But you have to calculate in that those people had an extra half-hour trip from the airport to the closest Amtrak station (Santa Ana), where they probably then waited 15-20 minutes for the train to arrive (which may or may not have arrived on time). Luckily, San Diego does have an Amtrak station, so as long as you’re heading to the waterfront you should be in good shape when you get there. Of course, if you were going to, say, UCSD, you’d have another 20-minute shuttle ride from the station.

    4. But, it is strange that so many people would rather drive, and often sit in traffic or slog along in a construction zone, than take a train on a trip under 300 miles.

      I love taking train trips: they are relaxing, pleasant, and convenient for trips from city center to city center. But they are not a cost-efficient means of transportation, they can’t replace the car, and they have no environmental benefits.

      Look at California: high speed rail is estimated to cost upwards of $100 billion to provide transportation for less than a million people, and that doesn’t even include operating costs. That’s $100000 train rider.

      1. They would come out ahead if they just paid for each train passenger to take an Uber

    5. On the other side, a train trip from Orlando to Atlanta takes two days, and routes you through Washington DC with an hours long layover.
      Driving takes about 8 hours.
      I don’t know the costs because the time required ends the comparison.

      1. Taking you from where you aren’t to where you don’t want to be at only two-to-three times the cost and time as the alternative!
        Democrat wet dream!

      2. Wait, what? A train from Orlando to Atlanta routes through DC? My east coast geography ain’t great, but that sounds like a stellar example of government non efficiency. Haha.

        1. Its not unusual even for private companies though. So I’ll give them a pass.

          I used to take the bus between San Diego and Tucson. There’s no direct route though so you go up to Phoenix and transfer.

          Why I started to fly that route was because the transfer meant it would take 13 hours to make that trip instead of 8 (with stops). And at only half the cost of flying (which took an hour).

          8 would have been tolerable at that price (an overnight ride) but I decided 13 was ridiculous.

    6. You got stuck in a traffic jam driving from John Wayne Airport. What’s your point? Are you suggesting that you should have taken the train instead? If so, how would you have gotten to the train from John Wayne?

      1. .. by Unicorn…
        We have some really stupid commenters here…

    7. “Several years ago, I got stuck in a lengthy traffic jam on Interstate 5, driving from Orange County Airport to San Diego. Meanwhile, Amtrak zipped past the traffic.”

      Assuming this isn’t an outright lie (as watermelon assertions commonly are), this is the most asinine claim regarding roads/rail.
      ckfred is ignoring the ability to exit 5, and find other routes; when CalTrain had any sort of rail blockage, it’s not like Engineer Ed could take the next exit and bypass the issue.
      ckfred, consider yourself called on either your bullshit or your stupidity.

    8. But the trip in the car still ends up being shorter and I have my car with me. And all the stuff my car can carry.

      I don’t have to limit myself to what I can physically drag along behind me (as you do when taking a train or plane). I can load the car up with whatever and have it at the end of the trip.

      Like, I’ve taken short trips by train in the NE (in CT because I didn’t have a car at the time. Its ok. But you pay for a taxi to the train station, you pay for a taxi to your destination from the train station. It takes a long time. You sit on seats that maybe have been cleaned. Maybe. You’re subject to weirdos on occasion. And it takes just as long as driving.

      I’m not seeing where its any better than taking a bus. I guess the seat is a little bigger.

      1. If you drive, you don’t have to share a bathroom with 75 other people in the same train car that won’t be cleaned every hour or ever.

        If you drive, you don’t have to deal with security theater.

        If you drive, you can eat what you want, when you want.

        If you drive, no one’s going to complain if you talk loudly to the radio.

    9. There is no train from Milwaukee to Chicago. You have to take the amtrak to sturtevamt then drive or catch the bus to the metro in kenosha. You are completely full of shit.
      Kenosha to Chicago is 90 minutes by train, about the same as driving.
      Remember when Doyle tried to link them and walker kiboshed it and the liberals threw a shit fit?

    10. and how much does the government spends on roads? I understand the argument that the government should not spend billions on Amtrak, but how can they compete when the government spends so much more money on roads, cars…….

      1. You can tell statist assholes, but you can’t tell ’em much:

        “…and how much does the government spends on roads?”
        Should be self-supporting from fuel taxes, but the government steals the money for bike paths and, yes, railroads.

        “I understand the argument that the government should not spend billions on Amtrak, but how can they compete when the government spends so much more money on roads, cars….”
        What you ought to understand is that making a public ass of yourself is very easy for un-educated statist shits.

  10. $75 billion for rail makes a great deal of sense; in fact, considering this amount would be spread out over many years in the current plan, we should be doing much more. Done right, it’s the most efficient form of transportation, and as remarkable as the private rail freight industry’s capital investment is in the US, it’s still not producing the capacity we need for freight or passenger use.

    But giving all that extra funding to Amtrak does not make sense unless they dramatically change their ways. Passenger railroading in the US is hamstrung by outmoded business practices and government regulations, making it far more expensive and less efficient than elsewhere, and it needs to be opened up to more new entrants. The public infrastructure spending should be seen as a downpayment on leveraging private finance and building up enough domestic expertise so that rail operators in this country don’t have to keep relying on expensive consultants as if it were a one-off job every time they take on a project.

    1. why does it have to be govt debt?
      .Why cant Amtrak fund their own expansion?

      Because theyre another shining example of govt funded run FAILURE.

    2. Done right, it’s the most efficient form of transportation, and as remarkable as the private rail freight industry’s capital investment is in the US, it’s still not producing the capacity we need for freight or passenger use.

      The US has by far the biggest and most efficient rail system in the world, and it is dedicated to freight. Freight needs low-speed, predictable schedules.

      Passenger rail is expensive and saves little in terms of emissions. Even in Germany, with its excellent rail system, rail accounts for less than 10% of the miles traveled.

      And because of the different requirements of passenger and freight, you’d have to build a completely separate passenger rail system if you wanted to have anything like Europe.

      1. Not quite a separate rail system – but yeah passenger and freight rail systems don’t play nice. The only place where both work is – a geography where there are not separate rail systems – mountainous areas – like Switzerland.

      2. Electric trains saves a lot in terms of emissions. plus it does not carry a bunch of government subsidized batteries like all these “electric cars”…..

        1. Electric trains move the emissions from the train to the power station.

    3. Done right, it’s the most efficient form of transportation

      Done the way we do it, it’s probably the least.

      as remarkable as the private rail freight industry’s capital investment is in the US, it’s still not producing the capacity we need for freight or passenger use

      It works great for freight. One reason our system doesn’t work great for passengers is that it’s designed for freight.

      I mentioned above that Amtrak doesn’t go to SF, and this is really the reason right here – Amtrak piggybacks on freight lines, and there’s no reason whatsoever for freight lines to cross the Bay. Shipping to SF goes direct to SF. Shipping bound inward domestically goes to Oakland, the terminus of the transcontinental railroad, which is where Amtrak goes. If you want to visit the Port of Oakland, Amtrak is a great way to get there – it stops right there. Sadly, it’s about a 14-block walk to BART from there through some not-so-great parts of Oakland.

      I’ve heard it said that the difference between European and US rail systems is that the European rail system is engineered for passenger traffic, whereas the US system is engineered for freight traffic, and where you favor the one, the other is not going to work very well.

      1. rail lines are choked off by mountains in the US…planes just fly OVER mountains.

        When the Left Coast was irrelevant, trains were fine.

        Now that much train traffic is to haul Chinese goods from the Left Coast, this is a problem.

    4. “$75 billion for rail makes a great deal of sense;…”

      You’re full of shit.

    5. Done right, it’s the most efficient form of transportation,

      1. The assumption that it will be ‘done right’ rather than ‘will be done to maximize someones payday and re-election chances’. SMDH

      2. Its not the most efficient form of transportation. By, like a lot. And it only is in the running if you assume that the trains are full and no one else is running full.

  11. Taggart Transcontinental will do the same work for less than half the price, and run on rails made by Rearden Metal.

    1. Taggart and Rearden would be working with Elon Musk on teleportation by this point.

    2. Wasn’t there another character in Atlas Shrugged who was already building aero planes out of Rearden Metal?

      1. Yeah. I wonder why that didn’t work out?

    3. Except of course, the EPA holds up Rearden Metal with endless impact studies, and the rail unification plan ends trains for ever.
      Vote for democrats, get Wesley Mouch.

  12. (Temporarily removes libertarian cap)

    A train full of passengers should not be held up stopped on the track for many hours waiting on freight.

    Trains transport passengers with lower emissions per mile than planes or cars.

    It’s extremely convenient to head down to the Tucson Amtrak station after dinner, have the attendant prepare a berth, go to bed and wake up right in downtown LA ready to start the day, no planes, security, airport shuttles, or driving.

    I doubt private enterprise could cobble together a nationwide system. Maybe this is a task best delegated to our Federal Government.

    1. A train full of passengers should not be held up stopped on the track for many hours waiting on freight.

      Yes, it should.

      Trains transport passengers with lower emissions per mile than planes or cars.

      There is very little difference when you take full end-to-end transportation into account. More importantly, if you favor passenger transportation over freight, you end up massively increasing freight transport on highways, and that really does lead to high emissions and pollution.

      It’s extremely convenient to head down to the Tucson Amtrak station after dinner, have the attendant prepare a berth, go to bed and wake up right in downtown LA ready to start the day, no planes, security, airport shuttles, or driving.

      And there you have it: Amtrak is a boondoggle for lazy pricks like you.

      And I’m sorry to burst your bubble: your utopia won’t come to pass; even the best run train services aren’t reliable enough for that kind of schedule.

      1. This article has really brought out the train shills. It’s like when Uber was new and the cab rats would show up en masse to defend their cartels.

        1. And the Elon fan-boys crowing about how you can now go to Tahoe so long as you don’t need heating or cooling.

    2. Trains transport passengers with lower emissions per mile than planes or cars.

      The also do that with cargo. Including live cargo.

    3. “A train full of passengers should not be held up stopped on the track for many hours waiting on freight.”

      Deliberate lie.

      Why cant it be scheduled? Why did you make the false assumption that would happen?

      Lying troll

      1. It’s not a lie. It’s an opinion. Are you saying it’s not his opinion?

      2. I’ve never heard of “many hours,” but back when I was commuting by train, having to stop and wait 20 minutes for a freight train to clear the tracks was not at all uncommon. It’s a big reason why you can’t rely on Amtrak to be on time.

    4. Two words (usually said as one): hyper loop.

      1. Two more words: Bull shit.

        1. Usually said as one.

    5. “(Temporarily removes libertarian cap)…”

      Put it back on and STFU.

    6. We tried private railroads from the beginning and the result was massively corrupt land speculation schemes followed by debt market manipulation followed by attempts to create monopolies via consolidation followed by bankruptcies and offloading land back to govt (called amtrak). We’ve learned nothing from any mistakes we made then.

      One of our political parties trumpets its incompetence and corruption. The other loves its corrupt bureaucrats. No other political party is allowed to exist. There is some stuff in this ‘Corridor Vision’ that indicates some stuff that could maybe produce some longer term benefits – but the generation that might build that and benefit has no power and no representation and won’t for a long time.

      Even if this could all work – the US isn’t capable of any of it.

      1. “We tried private railroads from the beginning and the result was massively corrupt land speculation schemes followed by debt market manipulation followed by attempts to create monopolies via consolidation followed by bankruptcies and offloading land back to govt (called amtrak). We’ve learned nothing from any mistakes we made then…”

        We can expect know-it-all arm-wavers like you to focus on some of the nasty side effects while totally ignoring the tremendous increase in wealth resulting from the cheap transport of goods.
        “We’ve” learned plenty; you’ve learned to bullshit and hope someone confuses that with intelligence.

      2. they were a safety nightmare also.

        1. Got a cite for that claim? AFAIK, the RR safety records were not (by mile) worse than the alternatives.
          No, if you were ‘schooled’ in CA, “Octopus” is not is cite; it is propaganda.

      3. Actually, the times we actually tried private railroads, instead of government-subsidized messes, they worked fine.

        One of those times was the Great Northern, which was the only transcontinental railroad built without Federal subsidies and land grants, and the only one to make it to the ICC era without going bankrupt.

        Another example has been freight rail since the 1980 deregulation.

        What we need to do is very, very simple. End all federal money for passenger rail, and IPO Amtrak (it currently is 100% owned by the US Government).

        1. “…One of those times was the Great Northern, which was the only transcontinental railroad built without Federal subsidies and land grants, and the only one to make it to the ICC era without going bankrupt…”

          Agreed, but what JFree further ignores (or ‘neglects to mention’, slimy POS that he is) involves the tremendous increase in value of the surrounding (to the RoW) gov’t-owned acreage which was then sold to the public in one of the true ‘investments’ of taxpayer money.
          There was no lack of market gaming in the building or finance of the trans-con RRs but to focus on that is simply to show what sort of sophistry you’re willing to bring to the table. JFree is nothing if not sophist hoping others will accept that bullshit for other than it is.

          1. I don’t ignore anything. What you seem to believe is that railroads were only built by sweat and effort (and no land speculation or debt except where govt is apparently the beneficiary) in the US. In Europe, railroads apparently just appeared. Probably as part of the Martian invasions of the 1850’s. It all becomes very hazy until the great investigative historian – Ayn Rand – writes the only book you’ve ever read. About the importance and wonders to free markets of inheriting the only properly built railroad from one’s grandparents. At that point, it (what – exactly – is a bit unknown) all becomes clear to you.

            1. “…It all becomes very hazy until the great investigative historian – Ayn Rand – writes the only book you’ve ever read. About the importance and wonders to free markets of inheriting the only properly built railroad from one’s grandparents. At that point, it (what – exactly – is a bit unknown) all becomes clear to you.”

              This pretty much explains your abysmal stupidity in one paragraph; found your boogey-man, didn’t you, you slimy piece of lefty shit?

        2. Fuck your Ayn Rand fiction. Libertarians might be worth a shit if they tried to actually learn from history instead of trying to build pedestals and statues. Deceitful ideologues.

          1. Fuck you and your attempted misdirection.
            Lefty shit piles (yep, YOU) have yet to have shown themselves worth anything at all other than stealing others’ money and murdering millions of innocents.
            In the entire time you’ve been waving your arms and spreading your bullshit here, you have yet to offer so much as a single alternative which has been shown to be superior to a free market effort.
            You are held in contempt here because as a egotistical, lying, pile of shit, you so richly deserve it.
            Fuck you with Tony’s dick; fuck off and die.

          2. If you’ve got a source, anywhere, that suggests either that the Great Northern was federally-subsidized, or that it went bankrupt, feel free to cite it.

            The transcontinental railroads that were designed and built with the purpose of extracting money from the government succeeded in extracting money from the government, but failed as rail operations. The one that was designed and built to make money off operating the railroad profitably succeeded in that purpose.

            This suggests, though it certainly does not prove, that the problem with the government-subsidized transcontinental lines was not anything inherent with railroads as a business, but rather that the government got precisely what its subsidy incentive structure selected for.

            Applying the lesson to Amtrak, the core purpose of Amtrak was to allow the private railroads in the US to offload their declining passenger traffic to the government. And it has succeeded in that purpose entirely. It has pretty much failed at everything else, but then, it wasn’t actually designed to do anything else.

            1. The Great Northern was a large group of short line railroads assembled into a ‘transcontinental’ via mergers. The land grants and subsidies and bankruptcies are in those other corporate entities not the holding company. eg St Paul and Pacific was Hill’s first railroad – bought out of bankruptcy with the 7th largest land grant acreage given to railroads. The Minneapolis and St Cloud was the one renamed ‘Great Northern’ – it had no rail operations just land grants/cessions (eg 900k acres of which in WA was sold to Fred Weyerhauser to start that timber company).

              Because his railroad was an assemblage, it meant that he had to join the Morgan group of trusts or the Rockefeller group of trusts. That’s how mergers happened then and much of the debt manipulation (except the battle over control of CBQ) and agreements not to compete takes place with them. In GN case, it was Morgan.

              That said – Hill was a true railroad builder.

              1. “…The Great Northern was a large group of short line railroads assembled into a ‘transcontinental’ via mergers. The land grants and subsidies and bankruptcies are in those other…..”

                IOWs, it was developed w/o gov’t assistance.

        3. name one thing Big Govt has thrown money at that wasnt a Cluster F—-

        4. and end all federal money for roads and cars, this will level the playing fields!!!

          1. STFU and learn something before you make a public ass of yourself from Mom’s basement.
            Again.

    7. A train full of passengers should not be held up stopped on the track for many hours waiting on freight.

      The goods being carried on that freight train are going to benefit a lot more people than are riding on that passenger train.

    8. “It’s extremely convenient to head down to the Tucson Amtrak station after dinner, have the attendant prepare a berth, go to bed and wake up right in downtown LA ready to start the day, no planes, security, airport shuttles, or driving.”

      Extremely convenient? The train only goes from Tucson to LA three times a week! It’s the furthest thing from ‘convenient’ you can get. besides, it’s extremely EXPENSIVE. Checking Amtrak right now, the cheapest “berth” (which means roomette) is $389! I could drive back and forth numerous times for less than that, and then have my car there to do things with – as opposed to your trip, which dumps you at LA Union Station which is in a bad part of town, with no transportation.

    9. Why not? Frankly, my shipment of whatever is more important to me than you getting to LA on time.

      No they don’t.

      So pay for it – all of it – yourself. And pay for that priority you want.

      Private enterprise already did.

  13. Everything I read on Google and Facebook says this is good for the nation and good for the economy, and that it will serve to reduce racial inequality! But I guess we shouldn’t be surprising that a Koch-funded white supremacist web site like Reason opposes new Amtrak routes! /sarc

    1. “……serve to reduce racial inequality.”

      Oh man! That’s all you had to say, dawg! I’m so fucking in!

      Haha. Man, they use that bullshit to try and justify fucking everything. It’s so boring.

  14. The problem with train travel is the pre and post train transport. Except for those few cites with workable mass transit, as soon as you get off the train, you have to rent a car, hail a cab or call an Uber. That pretty much negates the convenience of not driving in the first place. As for compelling private companies to prioritize Amtrak over their own freight trains, that is nonsense and most likely illegal given Amtrak is supposed to be a for-profit company. If Amtrak wants priority, they should build their own track.

  15. What hapened to the High Speed Mexican Migrant rail line in CA?

    1. Paying for newsom’s lobbyist dinners.

  16. Finally, an article on passenger rail that makes the pragmatic argument that passenger trains do not take traffic off the highways.
    Each AMTRAK train takes up a slot that could be used by a freight train. The freight train takes about 200 tractor trailer loads off the interstate. If the passenger train didn’t run, its passengers would add about 6 buses to the interstate (plus those passengers who aren’t afraid of driving or flying in planes less those who would stay the heck home and not expect the taxpayers to fund their railroad buff hobby or fun retirement vacations.)

    1. “Each AMTRAK train takes up a slot that could be used by a freight train.”
      On busy tracks, yes. On your average track, no. Look at the former Erie mainline. It’s wildly underused. Plenty of slots.

      1. Former Erie mainline has passenger trains as far as Port Jervis – part of the NYC commuting zone (due to lower real estate prices). Beyond Port Jervis, who wants to ride to Binghamton or places like Hancock and Susquehanna?

      2. “Each AMTRAK train takes up a slot that could be used by a freight train.”
        On busy tracks, yes. On your average track, no. Look at the former Erie mainline. It’s wildly underused. Plenty of slots.”

        YOU pay to record and take liability for each one and get back to us.

  17. I do not “like” Trump. I didn’t like him long before he was President or a TV star. On the other hand, I also don’t think he was the worst president ever. In fact he was most definitely the best one of this century — and the current one looks to be a complete disaster.

    On the other hand, even an idiot knows that when the demand for gasoline decreases, so does the price. The pandemic certainly did decrease the demand.

    So when Trump blames a predictable, natural rise in gas on the policies of the current idiot in the White House, frankly, he looks really silly.

    It’s not like he doesn’t have several Trillion other reasons to attack Biden.
    He should pick some of those and go for it.

    1. How the heck did this end up here? Geesh

    2. “and the current one looks to be a complete disaster”

      Yeah but he doesnt know it, or whom, or where he is…

      1. This is true.

  18. Let’s just withhold all funding for Amtrack until they can be 100% carbon free…????

    How could the greenies disagree?

    1. how about we with hold air from grenies till they turn purple?

  19. To compare AmTrak to private cars is a joke. EVERY time I’ve looked into taking the trainI realised driving solo would get me there faster, for far less money for the travel itself, and save me yet more in food costs. And I get door to door service in the two towns that are end-points. I have no limit on “stuff” I can take.. AmTrak will NOT let me take my tandem bicycle on their pweshiss trains. Easily lips into the back of my van. No extra cost.

    To compare AmTrak with the itnerstate highway system, another “federal project” is ridiculous. Those interstates were designed and built to quickly move military goods in time of invasion or conflict. They are not meant to be a for profit thing. That highwayt system is also the “post roads” FedGov are charged wiht building and maintaining so the mail can get to anywhere reasonably reliably and quickly. Please note: MOST US mail now moves by air. (one of the reasons they are underwater, but that’s another matter). There ARE no user fees for those highways, other than the federal fuel taxes charged at the fuel pumps when purchasing fuel. One can travel from anywhere in CONUS to anywhere else in CONUS by private car, whether owned or rented or leased or borrowed. With VERY few exceptioins, there ARE no direct user fees.
    AmTrak needs to go away. It is a government boondoggle, a money pit, a good ol’ boys club, and has long outgrown its usefulness.

    Further, the idea of FedGov mandating private enterprise to provide the use of their own capital investments at the whim and cry of AmTrak is fascism.. which is government CONTROL of private (like the railroads) means of production. For government to MANDATE the use of Union Pacific or BNSF rails to run the government train is, without question, fascism. We doan need no steeeeenkeeeeng fascism.

    One more shot: those trains run on fossil fuel, don’t they? I’ve often observed the AmTrak power units as they sit idling on a siding, or at the station. Thjey run at a very high idle, and emit a noticeably dark exhaust.. unburned fuel. I’m a diesel mechanic for decades and I know aobut these things. Compare to the EMD units used on the freight lines. They can sit on the tickover for a long time, their exhaust clear and clean. Can’t hardly smell it any more. Under way, heavy throttle, the AmTrak units spew a relatiely dark and persistent cloud of diesel exhaust. Unburned fuel. In contract, the freight units everywhere can go flying ccross the plains and deserts at 80 mph and their stackes are CLEAN. No government mandates drove them to “clean it up”. The industry went to work to see how they can save fuel, thus lowering their cost per tonne-mile. They have made those engines run so clean they use signficantly less fuel than tjey did back when. They hardly smoke ever, exhaust is clean to the smell, and its all dollars back onto the bottom line in fuel not used to do the same work that the dirty engines used to do.

    But not AmTrak….. oh no, Dey SPASHull……

    and they want to run MORE of them?

    IF rail travel were profitable for the general public, private enterprise would have been on it like a hungry sparrow on a junebug. They are not, nor have been. Thus it is NOT profitable. And won’t be any time soon. Perhaps the future of rail might change when the greenies finally get off their high horse and stop their panic mode over nuclear power. Small reactors are now availlable that can easily power a locomotive, at a fraction the cost and a tiny percentave of environmental impact. But da greenies are all on about wind and solar.. niether of which are capable of poering rail travel.

    1. The US HAD lots of train traffic till the Gummit F- ed it all up. And the bastard child from thats called Amtrak.

      Theres a REASON we have such a successful Intetstate highway system – it can allow traffic to almost anywhere on top of military benefits.

      This is not Europe where people live 12 wide and 19 deep. Trains failed back in the early 1900s

      But of course if someone wants more failure they can always regress into the past!

      1. “Small reactors are now availlable that can easily power a locomotive”

        There are not…just in your imagination

        1. A reactor for a locomotive would have to fit in a width of 10 foot 8 inches. (All structures near the rails in the USA were placed to clear locomotives and cars up to this wide; the load gauge in most of the world is in metric units, but the same width.) The radiation shielding and containment structures in power plants are 10’s of feet across in width, height, and length. In nuclear ships and submarines space is more limited, but the reactors can still be more than twice as wide as a train. You just don’t have enough room for proper radiation shielding in a locomotive.

      2. The US never had passenger train service that was profitable. It was always a loss-leader and political marketing.

        The nanosecond we decided way back when that ‘train service’ was going to be the rationale/excuse for giving land to some people and not others, then ‘train service’ became the game that was played by some people to get land for themselves rather than others.

        The nanosecond that game ended (roughly exactly precisely March 1 1920), a new game began where the railroads decided that hmm they didn’t need so much land for ‘train service’ after all but by gosh by golly now they had a lot of land title that wasn’t going to revert back they could sell it to someone else.

        1. It’s unfortunate that your lies and idiocy live far longer than a nanosecond.

    2. All right on, except Amtrak has been working to electrify it’s locomotives.

      1. electric vehicles failed by the 1930s…

        We dont need more failure

      2. And the electricity is generated from unicorn farts.

    3. Railroads have *always* been forced to carry passengers. It was part of letting them build their tracks anywhere they wanted. The deal when Amtrak was created that that they were released from that obligation BUT they had to give Amtrak trains priority and they had to put put up with hosting Amtrak trains.

      1. In most places west of the Mississippi, railroads needed to carry passengers to settle the land and use their two main profit centers:

        1. Selling land, which was nearly worthless until a railroad was built near it, but became much more valuable when there was transportation to ship food to the cities. Prior to the railroads, most settlers were subsistence farmers who for even tiny amounts of spending money had to somehow convert their surplus crops to much smaller quantities of high-value goods that were worth shipping by horse-drawn wagon. That is, they fermented and distilled grain to whiskey. They trapped and traded food for furs. (In one of the “Little House on the Prairie” books, Pa walked for days to the trading post with a backpack of cured furs, and traded these for a few simple items for Christmas – things that a city family would take for granted.) Or they raised cattle that could be driven to the rail-heads. But if you could reach the railroad with a horse-drawn farm wagon in a day or less, you could sell grain or whatever you grew, and get relatively inexpensive mass-produced goods in return.

        For many railroads, the government gave them half of the land within 10 miles of the new road-bed, in alternating sections. That wasn’t so much a subsidy as splitting the gain in the value of the land due to the railroad construction.

        2. Hauling freight. The railroads had to carry the settlers so they could generate the freight traffic.

    4. Amtrak is great unless you need to be somewhere fast, or economically, or conveniently on YOUR schedule. think of a train as broadcast TV…we see it reduced to irrelevance now that folks learned they like it when they like it based on their personal needs. like a car or bike…always there when you decide it’s time! trains? not so much

      1. “Amtrak…just like the Bus Station without the bums!”

        Whats not to like?

      2. About 170 years ago, Henry David Thoreau commented “The train is in the saddle and rides mankind.” For all the advances since then, passenger trains still run on rigid routes and schedules, requiring you to fit your travels to them, much more than even an airliner with a 2-hour line for security theater.

        No wonder leftists love trains – they see them as a means of social control. And no wonder Americans adopted more flexible means of transportation as soon as they became affordable.

  20. I want to travel to Phoenix on a stagecoach like in that movie with John Wayne. Dear taxpayer: If you build it, I will come.

    1. well it wont be Taxes paying for it. The G-D Gummit is entirely debt funded.

      Nowhere near enuf tax revenues to ” pay” for anything.

  21. “…These include creating a “Corridor Development Program” that would use exclusively federal funds to establish new Amtrak routes and subsidize their early operation…”

    Any guesses on the end of “early operation”? I’m guessing the year 2525.

  22. OH Hell…I smell another NAFTA SCAM.

    Recall Clintons disaster…promised Free Trade if wed just build a nice new International Highway for Mexi- hole to use for shipping illegal aliens and dope into the US?

    More trains?

    Look at freight trains…CHINESE CARGO.

    1. So does Kamala Harris!

      Zboing!

      1. Trains go choo choo! ????

        1. Kamala go woo hoo? Or boo hoo?

  23. The one drawback to any plans such as this that may hinder developing routes and gaining more passengers is our woke federal government. It can in no way benefit whites even if their is no harm to low income minorities. It has to benefit minorities even if there is some harm to whites. If you don’t believe that take a look in Boston and the MBTA expansion that has hit a roadblock. https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2021/05/25/mbta-green-line-extension-equity/

    1. that comment is just racist stupidity, Troll.

  24. There are four trains a day on the Erie’s Southern Tier (now Norfolk Southern). It’s wildly underused. Throwing a couple of Amtrak trains on it per day would not be noticed.

    Prioritizing Amtrak is no more difficult than prioritizing a particular Z999 freight train.

    1. Yeah, I’d love to get a picture of a passenger train winding along the Susquehanna River at Mill Rift, but I don’t expect the taxpayers to pay for my pleasure.

      1. Oops, that would be quite a feat for Army Corps of Engineers to re-route the Susque through Mill Rift. Obviously, it’s the Delaware River.

        1. No problem, just make it part of the Green Raw Deal and magically, Unicorns will make it happen!

    2. “There are four trains a day on the Erie’s Southern Tier (now Norfolk Southern). It’s wildly underused. Throwing a couple of Amtrak trains on it per day would not be noticed.”

      Great! Let us know when YOU will pay for them!
      Or STFU.

  25. But when it comes to passengers… different ballgame. Air teavel is FAR sup
    erior. There are SO MANY places accross this nation where the train don’t go, and never will. Even those off in the boonies corners can be reached relatively cheaply by air travel. I’ve looked into AMTrak in the recent past for travel. What I can drive in one long day, AmTrak takes two and a half. With high fuel costs, that distance would burn under $100 for the trip. I can eat when and what and where I want, in a few minutes, cheaply. AmTrak I’m stuck with their rotten grub at the statioins, noisey , stinky, lousey food for three times what it could ever get at any mall eat on stand. And the ticket soct? Near $300. Hah! That made it a no brainer.( https://wapexclusive.com )I use AmTrak locally when I need to get to the next city, say, to pick up or drop off a car. Cost is above driiving my thirsty van, it takes twice as long, but it works, mostly.

    1. Trains go very few places for cargo. The interim is semi truck hauling freight from the trains to the warehouses.

      Most people dont see that so we get the ignorant to delusional comnents as posted here…

    2. Overnight train trips are a different category. Those are more like cruises. People do it for the experience. The fact that we have essentially government subsidized land cruises is something to be questioned I think. They are popular and people love the experience of a long train vacation, but this really should be privatized.

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  27. Currently, D.C. to San Francisco on Amtrak takes 73 to 78 hours (three days +), involves two transfers (one to a bus), and costs between $482 (coach) to $859 (cheapest compartment).

    United Airlines takes 5 hr 24 min, non-stop, and costs between $335 (econ) to $674 (business).

    I think I’ll take the plane.

    Also, if I’m driving, say, from DC to Pittsburgh, and I see somewhere I want to stop and eat or shop, I can do that. Hard to do on a train.

    1. yep, planes replaced the failure callled railroads.

      There was a PBS docu on the federal railroad failures…such as horrible safety records lime brake men losing hands.

    2. “$335 (econ) to $674 (business).”

      Business class: your knees in your chin.

      Economy class: your knees in someone elses chin!

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  33. OH Snap! I missed this part first time thru the article.

    This isnt Amtraks idea, its Groper Joe Bidens!

    That figures..

    “only from the mind of a moron”

  34. Not really private. You need to research your history and current regulation.

    Railroads originally got most of their land from the Government. When the robber barons put in monopoly pricing, the Government put the roads under strict regulation. As part of the deal, both freight and passenger service were required of the roads.

    In the 60’s, the Railroads wanted out of passenger service. They cut a deal. They gave up all their passenger equipment to the govt and pledged to allow passenger trains to have access to rails and get priority scheduling.

    Current regulations require studies to be made before new routes are added and for Amtrak to pay for any required upgrades needed. Passenger trains still get priority schedules on the rails.

    The roads now play games with the opening of new routes. Delays on top of delays to keep from having to uphold their part of the deal. The changes sought are to put an end to games.

    Transportation is pretty much a money loser over over time. The carrot for private money is the money to be made in boom times. The stick is when govt has to bail them out of the busts and attaches strings to the money.

    One look at the old British Rail and you’ll see why our private/public mess is preferable to govt run roads.

    1. “In the 60’s, the Railroads wanted out of passenger service. ”

      Why?

      1. because they were not popular and were money losers. Amtrak bleeds from the ears and ass on all but one or two routes. trains are a pain in the ass for travelers other than sightseer’s. next on the Biden agenda…restored horsedrawn wagons. god he’s a dope.

        1. BAZINGA!!

          Its not” Progress” if it goes backwards!

          Its Democrats Trademark Vote Buying.

    2. “Railroads originally got most of their land from the Government. When the robber barons put in monopoly pricing, the Government put the roads under strict regulation. As part of the deal, both freight and passenger service were required of the roads…”

      “Octopus” is fiction; try some history and STFU until you do.

  35. You need to research your history and current regulation.

    Railroads originally got most of their land from the Government. When the robber barons put in monopoly pricing, the Government put the roads under strict regulation. As part of the deal, both freight and passenger service were required of the roads.

    In the 60’s, the Railroads wanted out of passenger service. They cut a deal. They gave up all their passenger equipment to the govt and pledged to allow passenger trains to have access to rails and get priority scheduling.

    Current regulations require studies to be made before new routes are added and for Amtrak to pay for any required upgrades needed. Passenger trains still get priority schedules on the rails.

    The roads now play games with the opening of new routes. Delays on top of delays to keep from having to uphold their part of the deal. The changes sought are to put an end to games.

    Transportation is pretty much a money loser over over time. The carrot for private money is the money to be made in boom times. The stick is when govt has to bail them out of the busts and attaches strings to the money.

    One look at the old British Rail and you’ll see why our private/public mess is preferable to govt run roads.

    1. “Railroads originally got most of their land from the Government. When the robber barons put in monopoly pricing, the Government put the roads under strict regulation. As part of the deal, both freight and passenger service were required of the roads…”

      “Octopus” is fiction; try some history and STFU until you do.

  36. OH I GET IT NOW!

    The hidden Agenda is GUN CONTROL.

    Read Amtraks terms and conditions. No firearms allowed.

    Can do so on planes ( cargo).

    Everything to radical Liberals is some Agenda!

  37. Hey- idea! Let Camel Toe Harris run with this…she knows all about pulling Trains!

  38. i look forward to the day i can travel at speeds rivaling cars AND arrive at my destination needing to rent the car i didn’t drive. the added inconvenience will make me appreciate Biden all the more. the wasted time, the added expense, the added nuisance…the boldness of the Biden plans for all things economic are truly impressive. It is a Brave New World

    1. Well youre in luck!

      Go ride Oregons Electric Vehicle highway.

      Drive 20 minutes, spend a half hour charging the batteries.

      Average speed ~ 34 mph!

      Are you packing your bags yet?

  39. “Progress”ives — taking us back to the 18th century. Though they’d prefer the 17th.

    Progressives watched Infinity Wars and thought Thanos wasn’t planning big enough.

    1. Progressivism- Returning America to what it once was…

      an Arctic wasteland covered in ice!

  40. Wait til all the trains are electric and you can’t go anywhere when the wind isn’t blowing.

    1. There have been electric trains in use for a long time but you would need to build the infrastructure. A third rail or something like a subway train.

      This whole thing is a crock anyway. More government waste.

      1. Id suggest intra city rail that uses freeway median space. Already have electrical power nearby. Median space is mostly a maintenance cost.

        Previous incarnations of trains ( street cars) were down town before the mass congestion of freeways and outerbelts.

        ( cue Donald Fagen ” IGY”….)

        1. Oh, yes, and they should be Steam Engines…steam doesnt pollute!

          They can be powered by ground Unicorn horns.

        2. Any sufficiently advanced sarcasm is indistinguishable from stupidity. You certainly demonstrate that.

          And to be clear: you cannot generally run trains down freeway median space.

  41. States that want to expand passenger rail should be purchasing the tracks and leasing them back to freight companies. It is a different use case that requires different priorities. Government forcing freight companies is wrong.

    Hopefully such as system reduces centralization of power if states decide they need a rail system, but I’m not optimistic of this. It should be set up by an RTA to make it as local as possible and ideally in conjunction with toll roads along the same corridors since they are complementary. As long as it isn’t the train wreck of the California high speed project, I could support some expansion. There are high speed trains used in Europe that don’t require expensive infrastructure changes.

    1. Oh crap Batman…

      not States rights snatched from the gaping maw of the DC Swamp Creature!

      ( chewing on my finger like Nancy Crater

      1000 bonus comment points to the first one that gets that tv reference…)

    2. Rail transport, essential to the invention of the modern world, was one of the first big multistate projects of government. The free market didn’t create it, it just attached itself to it for profit.

      And that’s fine. That’s what’s supposed to happen. Government also invented Velcro, and that has all sorts of profit-making applications.

      But you don’t get to take your government handouts and then declare they can never be taken back and used for other purposes.

      1. You confuse ‘government threw a ton of money at something to make it happen a few years earlier than it would have on its own’ with ‘government was needed to make it happen’.

        Also – Europe. Governments didn’t have a lot of hand in the creation of the European train lines. They just nationalized them when they were profitable. Then ran them into the ground, sold them off, now they’re profitable again so there’s rumblings of nationalizing them again.

        1. That’s shitstain. If he’s not lying or confused, he’s not posting.

        2. But who gives a fuck? The world coulda been different if only the world were different, then you’d be right!

          How about we don’t submit every goddamn thing to a stupid little cult ideology that nobody actually believes consistently? We don’t have to submit everything to libertarianism. Or Scientology. These are all feeble and failed attempts to explain a complex world in a simple way, appealing to simple people.

          If government beat the market in doing something great, that sounds like the market lost that race.

          1. “…How about we don’t submit every goddamn thing to a stupid little cult ideology that nobody actually believes consistently? We don’t have to submit everything to libertarianism…”

            Translated from shit-speak:
            “…Thinking is HARD!…”

    3. All the HSR in Europe required extensive infrastructure changes. The HSR in Europe does not run on normal passenger rail lines.

  42. …one more GD popup video on this site and Im gonna go Postal!

  43. But when it comes to passengers… different ballgame. Air teavel is FAR sup
    erior. There are SO MANY places accross this nation where the train don’t go, and never will. Even those off in the boonies corners can be reached relatively cheaply by air travel. I’ve looked into AMTrak in the recent past for travel. What I can drive in one long day, AmTrak takes two and a half. With high fuel costs, that distance would burn under $100 for the trip. I can eat when and what and where I want, in a few minutes, cheaply. AmTrak I’m stuck with their rotten grub at the statioins, noisey , stinky, lousey food for three times what it could ever get at any mall eat on stand. And the ticket soct? Near $300. Hah! That made it a no brainer.
    https://wapexclusive.com ,

    I use AmTrak locally when I need to get to the next city, say, to pick up or drop off a car. Cost is above driiving my thirsty van, it takes twice as long, but it works, mostly.

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  46. Way back when I looked into riding the rails across country on time when I went on leave.

    3 days travel time, transfers in the middle of the night, close to $1500 bucks if I wanted a sleeper – which I couldn’t use at least one night because of aformentioned middle-of-the-night transfer.

    It takes three days by car to travel the same route – no time savings (unless you only drive less than 8 hours a day), is more expensive than driving (even if you stay in a hotel) or flying, and you have to rent a car at the destination (just like flying).

    I, literally, do not understand the point of passenger rail in this country.

  47. You must be confused. The policy goal here is not “make a profit for the government.” It’s, and I quote:

    “New and improved rail service has the ability to change how our country moves and provides cleaner air, less traffic and a more connected country.”

    1. It only does one of those things. And its not provide cleaner air, less traffic, or a more connected country.

      ‘More connected country’? Really? In a place where you can instantly talk to people on the other side of the world or drive from San Diego to New York City in less than 48 hours of road time, fly it in less than 6 we need a rail line to connect them for passengers?

      Because we’re not connected enough.

      FFS.

      1. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, if we must.

        1. Certainly we are and the rest of us are entitled to point out that quoting government bullshit doesn’t change it from the bullshit it is.

    2. What is it with your fetish for people being channeled into little paths where they only go and do the things the ‘elite’ allow them to do.

      Take the train – from where you were born, your father and his father and his father before him were born – to the factory your family has worked in for 20 generations.

      For someone who says he hates traditionalism, you want a lot of it to be forced on people.

      1. I’m definitely not on the side of rent-seeking corporations and their quest to cement in place the structures that guarantee their profits. That would be you.

        Were you aware that automobiles are not a part of nature? That there may be, in fact, no mode of long-distance travel that is not to some extent directed by incentives introduced by public policy. You build highways instead of rails, and you get demand for cars. Nature doesn’t build highways either.

        1. “I’m definitely not on the side of rent-seeking corporations and their quest to cement in place the structures that guarantee their profits. That would be you…”

          See? If shitstain is not lying or confused, he’s not posting.

        2. HIghways are already built.

          Now you want the government to build rail. Despite the highways and airports making it obsolete for passenger travel.

          Because you hate the idea that individuals can make choices – everything has to be directed from above with you.

          1. I don’t personally give a fuck how people get from A to B. I get impatient during travel because I feel like it’s wasted time.

            On those grounds, I probably do prefer trains, because at least I can read a book. But a self-driving car would serve the same purpose.

            All I really care about is eliminating carbon pollution from this sector. Let legislators hash out whether we need more rail or more highways.

            I have all sorts of truth bombs for you about how building the country around cars has been pretty bad for us on the whole. We can go over them once you realize that you’re applying an ideological framework on a question you’re actually just taking sides on because you’re more accustomed to it. Neither route would take less government than the other.

            1. “…I have all sorts of truth bombs for you about how building the country around cars has been pretty bad for us on the whole.”

              Translated from shit-speak:
              “He’ll rehash all the lies watermelons have been telling for years”

            2. Wow CO2 really keeps you up at night? I must be getting old but you sound like the anti-nukes folks from the 80’s…it will all be just fine…just relax…

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  51. Just watched “The last Blockbuster”..more people were employed and used Blockbuster than Amtrack so if you believe in subsidize of companies for the “public good”…its time to open 5K new Blockbusters with Amtrack money.

    Oh…politicans and “wokes” never went into a Blockbuster…

    Seriously…Blockbuster not Amtrack…a better investment for America

  52. Christian: All governments steal (tax) and waste (invest). It’s always the result in authoritarian/collectivism. So what? Stop hacking at the leaves/branches of the problem and go straight to the root cause, coercive govt. Ask: What explains a failed politics that will not die? Answer: Superstition. What explains faith in force over reason? Early indoctrination in authoritarianism by authority (govt.). What reenforces the destructive myth? State propaganda. The MSM is an arm of govt. in all countries. Solution: Independent press/private ed.

  53. “why would a senator vote to fund a rail service that doesn’t run through her state” Quid Pro Quo?

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