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KeystoneRegional

Railroads, Republicans Muscling Out Amtrak.

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Forbes: "America’s leading freight railroads are plotting their return to passenger service as Amtrak faces a threat from privatizing politicians in Congress, a former Amtrak CEO said in Chicago Wednesday.

“This is a difficult time for Amtrak,” former Amtrak Chairman and CEO Tom Downs told about 70 people gathered at a rountable hosted by the

Metropolitan Planning Council. “One branch of the Congress has said that it’s time to phase out Amtrak.”

 

Republicans in the House of Representatives have pressed to cut Amtrak funding in the federal transportation bill, and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recently said in a TV news interview that he would eliminate Amtrak’s subsidy, among other programs:

 

 

“Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one, but there are others: Planned Parenthood, we’re gonna get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrak, I would eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, both excellent programs, but we can’t afford to borrow money to pay for these things.”

 

via
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Source link /// Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2012/03/15/railroads-republicans-muscling-out-amtrak/

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Typical and disturbing. Just ignoring the fact that Planned Parenthood and the Endowments cost so little that eliminating them would do nothing to fix the budget, and ignoring the fact that Obamacare is the same as the Romneycare he created, ignoring all that, this is just another example of how House Republcians and Romney are pushing this country BACKWARDS at a time when we really need to move forwards.

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Well sorry but Amtrak needs to stand on its own two feet, so I agree. We can't keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing. I don't why people have a hard time understanding that we can't keep spending money that we DON'T have. That's why the economy is so crappy right now. People spending money they didn't have. <_< And this ISN'T a party (ahem MVH9218 <_<) issue but rather a fiscal issue that must be tackled.

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I will say that a better use of funding from the feds would be to bolster regional rail services. Quiet frankly most riders are not traveling for say between NYC and Miami or Cross Country between NYC and LA.

 

So VG8 what you views of the feds paying for infrastucture taxes on our country's highways/freeways and interstates? And how should Amtrak pay for vital infrastructure improvements i.e High Speed Rail like the one passed in Calif. with tax payer dollars.

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I will say that a better use of funding from the feds would be to bolster regional rail services. Quiet frankly most riders are not traveling for say between NYC and Miami or Cross Country between NYC and LA.

 

So VG8 what you views of the feds paying for infrastucture taxes on our country's highways/freeways and interstates? And how should Amtrak pay for vital infrastructure improvements i.e High Speed Rail like the one passed in Calif. with tax payer dollars.

 

 

Amtrak should be privatized. The taxpayers are being held hostage by a company who has lost innovation and is simply FAILING to do anything to revive itself.

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Typical and disturbing. Just ignoring the fact that Planned Parenthood and the Endowments cost so little that eliminating them would do nothing to fix the budget, and ignoring the fact that Obamacare is the same as the Romneycare he created, ignoring all that, this is just another example of how House Republcians and Romney are pushing this country BACKWARDS at a time when we really need to move forwards.

 

 

While there is no denying that these institutions rely on funding and should be restructured, there is also no denying that they do serve a purpose, and such a action at this time is not in the best interests of the population.

 

Well sorry but Amtrak needs to stand on its own two feet, so I agree. We can't keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing. I don't why people have a hard time understanding that we can't keep spending money that we DON'T have. That's why the economy is so crappy right now. People spending money they didn't have. <_< And this ISN'T a party (ahem MVH9218 <_<) issue but rather a fiscal issue that must be tackled.

 

Yes, however Via, only the Republicans would act rash enough to get rid of the funding outright. Yes Amtrak needs to be restructured, though to cut funding to a already failing Amtrak does no good to anyone.

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Yes, however Via, only the Republicans would act rash enough to get rid of the funding outright. Yes Amtrak needs to be restructured, though to cut funding to a already failing Amtrak does no good to anyone.

 

 

It does good to the ailing taxpayer that's for sure.

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It does good to the ailing taxpayer that's for sure.

 

Well I have to ask. Do you personally have a vision for future sustainability? I mean it would seem that you would have a plan should the need for self sustainabilty arise.

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Well I have to ask. Do you personally have a vision for future sustainability? I mean it would seem that you would have a plan should the need for self sustainabilty arise.

 

 

A better question is should we just keep throwing taxpayer dollars at a failing company with no plan in sight with MILLIONS of Americans out of work???

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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I don't know how you took my last post. It seems you took it sarcastically when I was seriously speaking. Anyway this isn't going to put citizens back to work. You shut down Amtrak tommorow and how would one would benefit. Where would these monies be shifted to benefit YOU, I, the average U.S. citizen?

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I don't know how you took my last post. It seems you took it sarcastically when I was seriously speaking. Anyway this isn't going to put citizens back to work. You shut down Amtrak tommorow and how would one would benefit. Where would these monies be shifted to benefit YOU, I, the average U.S. citizen?

 

 

For one we wouldn't be stuck throwing away taxpayer dollars into a failing company...

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For one we wouldn't be stuck throwing away taxpayer dollars into a failing company...

 

Then everyone will be driving or taking the plane on already crowded highways and the skies. Playing Devil Adovcate VG8. Plus since you never travel past NYC (I think if VG8 was a regular Amtrak rider he might have changed his tune)what replaces Amtrak?

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For one we wouldn't be stuck throwing away taxpayer dollars into a failing company...

And where would that tax money go, might I ask you? This is the one of the things with conservatives that bugs me out. They are quick to point flaws and lay on the consequences, but they provide no real long term solutions. So Amtrak is losing money. Yes that's a fact. Does that mean that we should be quick to cut off funding? What good will that do other than the fact that "we won't be stuck throwing taxpayer dollars to a failing company"? Millions of people rely on Amtrak for transportation because they either cannot afford the price of air travel or do not wish to fly or drive for days in a car (which can be quite stressful). If Amtrak were to be privatized or fail altogether, you cannot expect freight companies to take up the slack as fast as would be expedient, or do so in a cost effective manner that would keep new rail fares down.

 

Saying that we should cut subsidies from Amtrak is akin to saying that we should privatize the roads and highways of our country. How silly would that be. Data from this article shows that subsidizing Amtrak is still slightly more cost effective than subsidizing roads: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/12208/funding-amtrak-is-more-cost-effective-than-subsidizing-roads/

 

If conservatives were not so concerned about looking out for their own backs and wallets, perhaps we would have a more generous and functional country.

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And where would that tax money go, might I ask you? This is the one of the things with conservatives that bugs me out. They are quick to point flaws and lay on the consequences, but they provide no real long term solutions. So Amtrak is losing money. Yes that's a fact. Does that mean that we should be quick to cut off funding? What good will that do other than the fact that "we won't be stuck throwing taxpayer dollars to a failing company"? Millions of people rely on Amtrak for transportation because they either cannot afford the price of air travel or do not wish to fly or drive for days in a car (which can be quite stressful). If Amtrak were to be privatized or fail altogether, you cannot expect freight companies to take up the slack as fast as would be expedient, or do so in a cost effective manner that would keep new rail fares down.

 

Saying that we should cut subsidies from Amtrak is akin to saying that we should privatize the roads and highways of our country. How silly would that be. Data from this article shows that subsidizing Amtrak is still slightly more cost effective than subsidizing roads: http://greatergreate...sidizing-roads/

 

If conservatives were not so concerned about looking out for their own backs and wallets, perhaps we would have a more generous and functional country.

 

Interesting... So in other words they can continue to drain taxpayers and fail because they're the only show in town?? Where is the accountability at??

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Interesting... So in other words they can continue to drain taxpayers and fail because they're the only show in town?? Where is the accountability at??

 

Of course not, but at the same time, the conservative solution of simply cutting funding is NOT the answer. It's just the easy way out, which conservatives seem to be inclined to take whenever there's a problem.

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Of course not, but at the same time, the conservative solution of simply cutting funding is NOT the answer. It's just the easy way out, which conservatives seem to be inclined to take whenever there's a problem.

 

 

Well what do you propose then?

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Amtrak should be reduced to the northeast only. Ridership from this corridor can sustain itself. It's the rest of the network that holds it down.

A news report recently (at the moment I forgot what news channel) stated that ridership along the nec has increased over the years partly due to airport security and the hassle on flyers who well, fly.

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Amtrak should be reduced to the northeast only. Ridership from this corridor can sustain itself. It's the rest of the network that holds it down.

A news report recently (at the moment I forgot what news channel) stated that ridership along the nec has increased over the years partly due to airport security and the hassle on flyers who well, fly.

 

That seems to be a fair compromise should the need for one arise, but what will be done to secure transit to suburban, rural, and isolated areas of the U.S? How will people in those areas connect to large urban metro centers? How can we as a country connect the nation? You can only do so much with Greyhound and other local and private operators.

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Well what do you propose then?

 

If the system doesn't work then find ways to reform it. Restructure management, or conduct research on better ways to guard against losses in the system. Find ways to attract more revenue, and sell more of the public on rail travel. A lot of people are already switching over to rails due to the hassle at airports and on the roads. There are a LOT of things that can be done and tried out in an attempt to FIX the system, but simply cutting funding and saying "oh, you're failing, so we should just kill you and leave millions of people stranded" is not the answer we need.

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As much as I like Amtrak and their awesome services, I think Amtrak should only exist East of the Mississippi. not soley the Northeast. There is tons of potential for Amtrak from New York to Florida, from North Carolina to Illinois. There should also be more streamlined services and better connection between services. As for privatization, it could happen with a public-private partnership by region - Northern Midwest, Southern Midwest, Rockies, and Pacific Coast/Vancouver, Canada. And I'd open up an option for VIA Rail to perhaps end at San Francisco so the Vancouver-Seattle-Portland-San-Fran Corridor could utilize Canadian trains.

 

As for western terminus for Amtrak Services, the following cities; Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana; could host stations for Amtrak Trains. While the privatized rail service could end there too to offer vital connections, and definitely uni-tickets could be purchased to ease travel.

 

Well, you might ask me why I am not going more aggressive to privatize rail in states other than the ones the NEC passes? I say, that I see tons of potential in the Chicago/Great Lakes Region. North Carolina Technology and Innovation Triangle, D.C. <-> Atlanta Corridor and the Harrisburg <-> Pittsburgh Corridor.

 

Well, how are we going to fund it? Well, mostly with passenger's fares, and tax money (because really, without tax money, no rail service will exist, in fact some nations pull money out of your paycheck before you receive it in order to subsidize services). Also, no matter how bad Payroll Taxes seem, it's not that bad considering that businesses pay it, not individuals, and really I'd be for it, for commuter rail, such as North Carolina's intra-state rail service, and MTA Railroads.

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Amtrak needs to be run like a BUSINESS, not a government arm.

 

Privatize the railroad. If there is demand, supply it. Simple economics.

 

Everyone wants all these trains for all of these places, but these services need to be paid for. Throwing tax money at it is NOT a sustainable solution.

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People are saying that Amtrak is subsidized, so it should be removed.

 

What about the airlines? Do they pay for the costs of building new airports (the bills for which pass much quicker than the bills for Amtrak NEC capital funds)? Do they pay for the costs of ATC? Have they returned the (extra) subsidies they received after 9/11?

 

And the roads don't pay for themselves either - the gas tax does not cover the full cost of the roads. Even when all the fees, like vehicle licensing, are added in, the roads are still 'unprofitable'.

 

Finally, why is giving money to Amtrak a 'subsidy' and giving money to other modes of transport an 'investment'?

 

Generally, every mode of transport needs to be given a competitive chance. With the annual struggles that Amtrak faces to avoid being cut, it's not a fighting chance, since it can make no long-term funding commitments. Look at Europe - it has a massive rail system which is subsidized, just like ours. But they consider it an important mode of transport, not an afterthought that faces annual battles for survival.

 

PS For those who say privatize the railways, read some 1960s railroad history. Amtrak was created because the private sector refused to operate the passenger trains. Why would now be any different?

Edited by NX Express
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Amtrak should be privatized. The taxpayers are being held hostage by a company who has lost innovation and is simply FAILING to do anything to revive itself.

 

 

Guess you want to privates the MTA to LOL.

Edited by MTARegional Bus

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