Amtrak costs taxpayers more than $1.5 BILLION each year. That means that once all the bills are paid, Amtrak brings in $1.5 Billion LESS than it spends. This is not a new occurrence either. Amtrak has lost money every year (since 1970) it has been in operation. I can certainly understand Senator Carper’s concerns over cutting funding to Amtrak, which he uses to go back and forth to D.C. everyday with Chris Coons and John Carney. Also, the union membership of the Amtrak employees is a key voting bloc for Delaware’s congressional delegations. Without Amtrak, Carper would either have to get an apartment in D.C., sleep in his office or pay more than $3.20 per gallon for gas to drive (or be driven) to D.C. and back everyday.
The reality is that Amtrak is a drain on America’s pocketbook and for those who are VICIOUSLY attacking the Army, National Guard and the Air Force for spending $10 million sponsoring motor sports to boost recruiting, perhaps we can also look at saving a much larger amount through Amtrak. To look at the nuts and bolts of Amtrak, you can see that only 4 out of the 45 active lines make a profit. In any business, the 41 lines losing money would be cut back, eliminated or otherwise reformed to ensure a profit. Our government, is content with just sticking you and I with the bill. Further, if someone suggests privatizing the service, the left HOWLS about how horrible it would be for the people. Yes, I guess it would be terrible if we had to actually break even through Amtrak. 5 people travelling from Los Angeles to Houston might have to fly (and spend less money to arrive sooner) instead of take the train.
Liberals will point to Japan, England, Germany and other European nations as proof that rail works. I wonder if they know that each of those nations employees various degrees of private rail ownership. Further, you might look at those nations and see how many of them you can fit into the United States. The answer, all of them. America is a big country and rail, even high speed rail, will not work everywhere but it does have it’s advantages in some places. What about the rail lines? Surely the government must own and protect those lines right? Well, currently, most of the rail lines in America are owned by private freight rail companies. With that said, those places where highspeed rail DOES work would easily attract private investors who could fund the projects and make them profitable (and perhaps pay off the debt Amtrak has racked up). The eastern corridor, from Boston to D.C. and the western coast from San Francisco to San Diego are two areas where high speed rail would be very effective. There may also be some use for a line from San Antonio to Orlando (or Atlanta) but studies would have to determine the effectiveness.
So, Senator Carper, why exactly should we keep pouring money into a venture that has never made money…EVER? The bottom line is that privatizing our nations rail system would save us more than $1.5 Billion and could possibly increase our GNP by hundreds of millions more or even billions more with highspeed rail. From a practical standpoint it’s a no brainer. The question isn’t IF…it’s WHEN…and hopefully the answer is sooner…rather than later.