Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Meaningful Amtrak Reform?

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.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll: I-4 voters wanted high-speed rail – Tampa Bay Times

A majority of I-4 corridor voters did not like Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to cancel plans for a high-speed rail line that would have linked Tampa and Orlando, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9/Central Florida 13 poll.

Fifty-one percent said Scott should not have rejected $2.4 billion in federal money to construct the rail line, compared to 39 percent who supported Scott’s decision and 10 percent who were unsure.

 

Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll: I-4 voters wanted high-speed rail – Tampa Bay Times.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

Legislators lobby to bring Amtrak service into Shreveport/Boss – KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

I have roused myself to past this from the Shreveport paper because it could impact the Amtrak service into Arkansas (presuming there is any service remaining by this time next year). Brace yourself. The story contains several misinformed usages of the word “profitable” in connection with Amtrak.

Readers here know that I support good rail service and a balanced transportation policy, but “profitable” does not apply to any Amtrak service anywhere. That is why it is a government service. In complete fairness, and my elephant friends will not much like this very much, highways are not profitable either and the commercial airlines are often bleeding red ink. Amtrak is the usual political whipping boy because the money is all out in the open.

Anyway, this is another exercise in deck chair rearrangement on the good ship Titanic. I am so sick and offended every day one of the stoies comes up about a “study.” The only people who have been served by the proliferation of studies is the consultants who write them. There will never be one single mile of European style high speed rail built in the USA for the next 100 years. The only people who have a say on such things are the truckers , big oil, auto manufacturers, and airlines. Anyway, just for grins, here is the story.

Legislators lobby to bring Amtrak service into Shreveport/Boss – KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

GOP platform: Cut Amtrak, privatize airport security and focus highway money on roads – The Hill’s Transportation Report

No surprise here.

The platform approved by Republicans on Tuesday calls for the elimination of funding for Amtrak passenger rail service, private airport security screening and stopping the use of money earmarked for highway construction for other purposes.

The more than 30,000-word document was approved on the first full day of the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. It includes many provisions that were pushed by Republicans in the House during recent negotiations over the new $105 billion transportation bill that was approved by lawmakers in June.

GOP platform: Cut Amtrak, privatize airport security and focus highway money on roads – The Hill’s Transportation Report.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics

Acela defies California’s bullet-train naysayers – latimes.com

I don’t check in here so much any more. It seems rather pointless. To those of you who still fight the good fight, thanks and good luck. Frankly, I am sticking with my prediction that not one single mile of true European style high speed rail will ever be built for intercity transportation in the United States.

While this editorial does not disprove my prediction, It is a good perspective, even though the Washington-Boston corridor does not “make money” (whatever that means).. Read it all at the link.

Critics deride the line as a train to nowhere that will never attract the funding needed to run all the way from Sacramento to San Diego (with a spur to San Francisco) as originally envisioned. What’s more, they say, the train’s planning has been so undermined by special interests that it has no chance of running fast enough to fulfill its promise to get from L.A. to San Francisco in 2 1/2 hours. The naysayers aren’t necessarily wrong — there are serious troubles in trainville — but their aversion to risk is blinding them to the potential rewards. If the cynics fail to kill the train and more visionary leaders succeed in drumming up the funding needed to complete it, the line could become the most successful transportation project in the country.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at Amtrak‘s Acela Express.

Acela defies California’s bullet-train naysayers – latimes.com.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

Krugman: Cannibalize the Future – NYTimes.com

Cannibalize the Future – NYTimes.com.

One general rule of modern politics is that the people who talk most about future generations — who go around solemnly declaring that we’re burdening our children with debt — are, in practice, the people most eager to sacrifice our future for short-term political gain. You can see that principle at work in the House Republican budget, which starts with dire warnings about the evils of deficits, then calls for tax cuts that would make the deficit even bigger, offset only by the claim to have a secret plan to make up for the revenue losses somehow or other.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

Blog Stats

  • 497,230 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,430 other followers

wordpress stat

Top Clicks

  • None
September 2021
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Categories