TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Amtrak Passengers Stranded in Woods in Georgia

Re: Amtrak Passengers Stranded in Woods in Georgia

Bob Vaughan (
Sat, 31 Dec 2005 13:14:36 +0000 (UTC)

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Excuses, excuses! My main point was
> _what business does the government have in being in the Rail Road
> business anyway? The trains ran perfectly well by themselves, and when
> the government took over they just got worse and worse. PAT]

What business does the government have bailing out bankrupt airlines?
What business does the government have running bus service? What
business does the government have running commuter rail service?
Would you be upset if there was no public transportation?

Would you be upset if there was no way for you to get from place to
place just because your town isn't big enough to justify an airport?

Amtrak was created from the existing passenger rail lines, that the
railroads no longer wanted to run. If Amtrak had not been created,
there would be no inter-city rail service in the US today.

Amtrak may not stop everywhere, nor may it stop at convienient times,
but it does provide service to many areas that are out of reach of the
airlines, as well as providing a comfortable alternative to driving,
buses, or pressurized tubes flying thru the air.

The common misconception among Amtrak bashers, is that the long-haul
inter-city trains are where all the money goes, and that if those trains
were cancelled, Amtrak would be in a better financial situation.

In reality, while all of the trains lose money, the inter-city trains
actually recover more revenue than the northeast corridor trains,
which have the added expense of maintanance of one of the most
expensive, and heavily used railroad properties in the world, the
existence of which helps prevent the northeast portion of the country
from collapsing under gridlock..

We subsidize the airlines with horribly expensive airports, we
subsidize buses and cars with horribly expensive highways. We provide
financial bailouts to bankrupt airlines, and yet we complain about a
relatively small amount of money necessary to subsidize passanger rail
operations, over a mostly privately owned rail infrastructure.

I think we have some of our priorities misplaced.

-- Welcome My Son, Welcome To The Machine --
Bob Vaughan | techie @ |
| P.O. Box 19792, Stanford, Ca 94309 |
-- I am Me, I am only Me, And no one else is Me, What could be simpler? --

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I never said that Amtrak got all of the
money or even a large part of it. I know they do not get much money,
and are treated like a step-child many times. My question/comment was
_why is government_ in any of those illegitimate (for government)
businesses in the first place, not how badly some are treated nor how
much favoritism is shown to some instead of others.

Independence, KS is a small town (about 8000 people) but we _do_ have
a privately owned airport here. Mostly it is used by executives of, Boeing Aircraft and other businesses here in town. They
also offer unscheduled (or rather, by appointment) commercial flights
to Wichita, KS and Tulsa, OK which are scheduled to 'meet' incoming
flights from elsewhere or outgoing flights to other places on
'regular' airlines. In those cases, they sell 'through tickets' to
wherever the passenger is going, with a ticket tear for Wichita or
Tulsa, our two closest cities (110 miles northwest in one case, 80
miles south in the latter case.)I can tell you that a flight from
anywhere to Kansas City or Tulsa in comparitivly much cheaper than a
flight from anywhere to Wichita or for Gods sakes! a ticket all the
way to Independence, even though Kansas City is only 250 miles or so
away. We also have a bus station (three or four busses daily each
direction between Tulsa and Kansas City) and we _used_ to have a
train station with Santa Fe railroad trains between Chicago and
the west coast a couple times each daily, but those went out of
business many years ago, and another railroad called 'TKO' something.
But I don;t think the government should have to pay to keep them
running, nor subsidize our airport either. PAT]

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