Last week we talked about a cash-strapped Vermont looking at cutting back its subsidy for its popular and growing Amtrak routes. Of course, this is exactly what we shouldn’t be doing right now, exactly what we hoped we wouldn’t have to do under a more enlightened Obama administration. Pat mentioned some unhappiness with the cuts later on in the week, but resentment seems to continue, with Burlington Free Press readers unanimously writing in support of the line (okay, so there were only a couple dozen of them, but well, it’s a small state). Carl Fowler in the Times and Argus says it best:
We “invest” in highways and “subsidize” rail, but I submit that both are really the same. When did Vermonters last get a dividend check from I-89? Cutting Amtrak now would be penny-wise and pound-foolish. Rather, we should be looking for ways to expand Amtrak. An immediate reinstatement of the St. Albans-Montreal Ambus connection will add a minimum of 30 passengers per day to the train, cover all incremental expenses, and add ridership of 15 percent to the Vermonter route, while increasing rail revenues by at least $500,000 per year, with no increase in train costs.
Let’s hope the Vermont legislature listens to Fowler and other citizens when they’re considering these cuts. And of course, TFA will be sure to continue tracking this issue for you.