MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Investing In Amtrak-Good for Erie? Good for Anyone?

Posted by Martin C. Fox on May 11, 2013

The 10 May Erie Times editorial advocates investing in Amtrak.  It should have said MORE investing.  I am sure the Westcott family’s ride to NYC was pleasant and economical as stated.  It was economical because they weren’t charged enough.   Amtrak loses $Billions every year.  The taxpayer makes up the difference.  The main reason Amtrak exists is for the Washington to NY and Boston run.  Another taxpayer subsidized freebie for government employees as well as Bostonians and New Yorkers used to living off the rest of us.  This more of that wealth redistribution thing of which our president is so very fond.
Indeed, the Cato Institute says that it would be cheaper to provide individual commercial plane fare for the outlaying runs.  
That is bad.
The editorial cites a white paper stating more growth would occur if  tracks, tracks, signal system and stations were improved.  In other words, the whole system need rebuilt.  Where do $Billions of regular yearly taxpayer subsidies go?  Apparently not towards increasing efficiency.  But like I said, this is a typical government operation.
The government has been running Amtrak for decades and it only gets worse.  To get a visual of what has been accomplished we only have to look at the editorial… our own station-”dim and unappealing, and doesn’t offer overnight parking”- and it only comes out at night.  How many more lifetimes will we have to wait for a decent station where one can board in daylight?
Like most things where Washington sticks it’s nose, it doesn’t belong in the train biz.
How to make Amtrak better?  Just give the whole away to someone who actually knows what they were doing.  No one with any sense would pay much for this loser.

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