Planes, trains and automobiles…

February 18, 2011
By

Here in Florida, we are in the middle of something that is happening in other states with Republican leadership. We are refusing federal money.

Newly elected governor, Rick Scott, refused $2.4B of money for a high speed train from Tampa to Orlando, a distance of 85 miles (a cost of $28.2 million per mile).

This might be different if rail wasn’t a loser in America. Reported in a study in the New York Post in 2009:

Taxpayers spent a whopping $32 per passenger subsidizing the cost of the typical Amtrak rider last year — about four times the rail operator’s own estimate, according to a private study released today.

According to their financial statements for FY 2008, The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) took in $1.95 billion in passenger revenues from 23.7 million riders, an average price of $82.27 per ticket, revenue subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of 39%. Even with this operating subsidy, they managed to post a net loss of $1.2 billion in 2008. The best line made $41 per passenger, the worst lost $462 per.

Yet, in the face of all this, the wise people in the Obama administration, acting like the petulant second graders they are, said: “I’ll just take my toys and go play with someone else, they will like me”. Basically, we are going to spend this money somewhere even though nobody wants it…

Losses of billions, heavy taxpayer subsidies – these are the numbers that the governors are afraid of. The effect of the “aid” is an unfunded mandate that either 1) the state taxpayers will have to bear or 2) cause the states to continue to suckle at the federal teat (and allow the feds more control). This proves once again that it isn’t about good business, stimulus or public benefit, it is about patronage, dependence and control.

Tell me again why we need to “invest” in rail transportation?

46 Responses to Planes, trains and automobiles…

  1. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 5:55 am

    What is it about liberals and their obsession with high-speed rail?

    Obviously they waste gobs of money on many things, but this hobby horse seems to occupy a special place in the liberal echelon.

    Apparently the collective orgasm derived from forcibly compelliing Americans from their vehicles into cattle cars will far outweight the spectacular failure the system is fated to be.

    I suppose the only thing that could exceed it would be mandating that all Americans play soccer.

  2. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 6:18 am

    This interactive map was linked over at AoS.

    Check out the patterns in the blue liberal states. California is falling over the cliff.

    The nation as a whole will soon resemble California, but there will be nowhere to run.

  3. IP727 on February 18, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Great map

  4. IP727 on February 18, 2011 at 6:52 am

    What is it about liberals and their obsession with high-speed rail?

    Greater dependency on the state,less freedom of movement for the individual.

  5. anonymous un-RINO on February 18, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Amtrak is a colossal boondoggle.

    We can’t afford it, and we can’t even afford what the Department of Transportation is meddling in now. Their budget must be slashed. To start:

    Amtrak must die.

    That is all.

  6. artist on February 18, 2011 at 7:22 am

    These new GOP Gov’s are great, so far.

  7. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 7:27 am

    Tell me again why we need to “invest” in rail transportation?

    Because railroads are America. You be discussing the best way to save railroads in America.

    Or are you a petulant second grader?

  8. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Should be:

    You should be discussing…

  9. AnonwiffleQ&L99 on February 18, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Railroads to save the economy, jobs, the environment, mickey mouse and apple pie. If it wasn’t such a stupid and bad idea it would be laughable.

    There is no denying the ideas of the Obama administration are as pathetic, amateurish as can and were to be expected from a group of no experience liberals taking over the most important job in the world.

  10. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 8:28 am

    It’s all nonsense.

    If the lefty enviros were actually serious about reducing greenhouse gases and oil/coal consumption, they would be advocating full-bore reorientation of the national power grid to nuclear power. This is the ONLY currently available strategy that would drastically reduce our fossil fuel consumption while meeting the energy demands to maintain our economy.

    Yet they oppose the building of any new nuclear ppwer plant while giving us this ridiculous litany of windmills and railroads and inflating tires.

    So the actual agenda must be something quite different.

    I wonder what it could be?

  11. utahprez on February 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Commercial rail is the backbone of America, not passenger rail. We aren’t talking 200 mph freight trains to improve business logistics, we are talking about the Mickey Express from Tampa to Orlando.

  12. utahprez on February 18, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Freight, not “frieght”.

  13. IP727 on February 18, 2011 at 10:12 am

    200 mph fright trains would be apropos

  14. IP727 on February 18, 2011 at 10:21 am

    OBAMMER IS SMIRKING DON’T YOU SEE,
    HE WONDERED HOW LONG HE COULD CON SUCH AS WE,
    BUT THE WHEELS CAME OFF SOOONER THAN EXPECTED,
    ONCE THE GREAT UNWASHED BECAME DISAFFECTED,
    MYOPIC THEY WERE, BUT ONLY TO A DEGREE.

  15. Kevin_Thompson on February 18, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Has the I-4 corridor been shut down in my beloved Florida?

  16. Warner on February 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

    “Tell me again why we need to “invest” in rail transportation?”

    Same reason we’ve invested in highways, air traffic control, satellite weather and GPS technologies, and any and all other infrastructure that is 1) crucial to the reliable exchange of goods and services, and 2) to allow for improved mobility of people for personal and business reasons.

  17. anonymous un-RINO on February 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Yeah, buses can handle surface passenger travel. I’ve never understood the Left’s obsession with rail. A bunch of infrastructure, and public jobs, and cost overruns. It’s a federal subsidy to the East coast gits, and sop to the public employee labor unions, is what it is. Out in the hinterlands, you’ve got a bus station close by, and that serves perfectly well. And even traveling from the city, it’s cheaper than air, too. And even within the city, buses work wonders, properly managed and run.

  18. IP727 on February 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Repeal davis bacon before starting anymore fed backed projects. These schemes are a payoff to the unions.

  19. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Nobody rides them, Warner.

    They are colossal money-losers, with a few selected exceptions.

  20. Jay on February 18, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Because railroads are America

    Laugh out loud funny.

  21. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I ride them often.

    As I stated above, the discussion should be how to keep them.

  22. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Laugh out loud funny.

    What a small reply.

  23. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    My earliest memory is riding the train, when I was three, almost 50 years ago.

  24. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    ‘I ride them often.’

    ‘My earliest memory is riding the train, when I was three, almost 50 years ago.’

    With all due respect, just because you like to ride them and have fond memories, the vast majority of taxpayers who do not should be compelled to fund your little joyride down memory lane?

  25. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    ‘the discussion should be how to keep them.’

    Why? Passenger rail is dead and has been for quite some time.

    The only possible way this makes sense is if the Obamabots are planning and anticipating gasoline prices in the $5-10 range. Perhaps they are.

  26. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    fund your little joyride down memory lane?

    Did I say that I ride trains as a “little joyride down memory lane”? With all due respect.

    I ride them for business. Amtrak makes a profit between the cities that I normally commute.

  27. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Between what cities, pray tell?

    Outside the Bos-NY-Wash corridor, Amtrak is a fiscal blackhole.

    Do you know how many billions of dollars Congress pumps into Amtrak each year just so Joe Biden can ride the train home to Delaware?

  28. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    With all due respect, I believe that is precisely why you ride trains.

    Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, but fund it yourself.

    If you wish as a private citizen to engage with other like-minded liberals and invest in your own railway, have at it. Don’t compel us to pay for it.

    Let me guess–you also enjoy NPR and PBS and believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund that as well.

  29. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Let me guess–you also enjoy NPR and PBS

    Guessing is not your strong suit.

    just so Joe Biden can ride the train home to Delaware

    That is not the reason congress does it, so why did you state it?

    Outside the Bos-NY-Wash corridor, Amtrak is a fiscal blackhole.

    Then why do you want to kill Amtrak within the Bos-NY-Wash corridor?

  30. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    With all due respect, I believe that is precisely why you ride trains.

    Guessing is not your strong suit. I ride for business convenience. A lot of people do. That is in part why it is profitable between the cities that I ride.

  31. anonymous un-RINO on February 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Then pay for it yourself. The rest of us don’t want to subsidize you.

  32. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    ‘Guessing is not your strong suit.’

    Making an argument is not yours. Why don’t you address the question you’ve been asked several times?

  33. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    ‘Then why do you want to kill Amtrak within the Bos-NY-Wash corridor?’

    I don’t. I want to kill Amtrak completely and stop wasting billions.

    If you wish to maintain private sector rail service, more power to you.

  34. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    ‘That is not the reason congress does it’

    Political patronage is certainly the reason why Congress engages in most wasteful spending.

    What do you think is the reason? Liberal insanity?

  35. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    No, wait, I know–national security!

  36. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    ‘I ride for business convenience. ‘

    Then, as Anon Rino has said, pay for the privilege out of your own pocket and leave us out of it.

    ‘A lot of people do. ‘

    Not nearly enough of them.

  37. phineas gage on February 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Sorry, Anon Un-Rino.

    That was a particularly regrettable error.

  38. anonymous un-RINO on February 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Whew, for a minute there, I thought I was going to have to vote to confirm Elena Kagan or ObamaCare or something.

  39. Alice on February 18, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    pay for the privilege out of your own pocket

    I do. As I stated above, Amtrak is profitable between the cities that I ride.

    leave us out of it

    Eliminate Amtrak and you are out of it. Best of luck in that.

  40. Jay on February 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    What a small reply

    The assertion was idiotic.

    Amtrak is profitable between the cities that I ride.

    No, it is not.

  41. Jay on February 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I ride for business convenience.

    Then start your own rail line, captain.

  42. anonymous un-RINO on February 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Oh I get it, so if some small part or division of a business, corporation or enterprise is profitable, then we should publicly subsidize the whole thing?

    Sorry, I ain’t even buying that this small part is profitable. Not when massive pension liability and capital expense is included, and you may depend it’s not.

  43. rightwingyahoo on February 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    If the NE leg of Amtrak makes money, then it can exist on its own, so the subsidy should be ended, and you’ll still have a train to ride….

    This country is broke. If we cannot stop paying for things like EPA, BATFE, PBS, Amtrak, and ethanol, then we will never stop any spending, and over the cliffs of inflation we go.

    STOP SPENDING STOP SPENDING STOP SPENDING STOP SPENDING STOP SPENDING….

    ok?

  44. rightwingyahoo on February 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Alice, what right have you to demand the taxpayers fund your railroad when the dollar is tubing due to massive deficits and record debt?

    How much is enough, to get the point across to you?

  45. rightwingyahoo on February 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Alice, Americans everywhere are dealing with inflation, job loss, losses in investments and savings, tanking everywhere, all due to this profligate and ridiculous spending binge we have been on…

    How much suffering must they continue to endure, so you can ride your f***ing train?

    This has got to stop.

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