America’s favorite whipping boy is tied to the post and getting it good and hard. The most shameful aspect of this particular episode is that the President of Amtrak is among the chief whippers. Naturally, he conceals the flailing with the finest sugar-coated meaningless promises, but he is drawing blood.
The Boardman intention to make Amtrak into America’s foremost inter-city carrier is, in the first place, chicken manure wrapped in bacon and served on fine China with the primary purpose of buying some time for the next round of inept nobodies to pillage the company for whatever was left over from the last bunch of vandals. Secondly, it is “code” for destroying the long distance service west of Philadelphia.
Get ready for more assaults on the Sunset. Well, you know it just doesn’t perform. It is not even up to the miserable standards of the rest of Amtrak’s fleet of worn out Superliners. Never mind that the Sunset, thanks to a corporate cave-in to Union Pacific, is still a three-day-a-week service. The argument always begins with the Sunset because it is most easily stated in the most simple numbers and Americans have no capacity to think through a proposition that takes several steps.
Amtrak reform has been the D. C. mantra for decades and I have lost track of the commissions and recommendations. Amtrak has been recommended and regulated almost out of existence. Even the slightest and most meager availability of a transportation choice is apparently a deadly threat to the highway and airline special interests – not to mention the operating railroads.
Amtrak needs – deserves – stable professional transportation managers. Amtrak IS a government service and we should suck it up and admit the truth. Interstate highways are bleeding states dry and the feds have no taste to even fund that part of the transport grid. This foolishness is so pathetic, and an insult to many people who have worked hard to maintain viable transportation choices. Amtrak should be EXPANDING long distance service, not wagging a hypocritical finger of disapproval at the very trains it routinely trashes through official
The proper solution is more trains, more routes, greater connectivity, and a real investment in modest speed improvements – not a backbreaking leap into the very expensive world of true European-style high speed rail. We could eventually get there, but the journey begins by developing markets. That is the intelligent BUSINESS plan, but Tea Party radicalism will hear nothing of anything that bears the slightest odor of reason.