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

Re: Amtrak Passengers Stranded in Woods in Georgia

Mon, 16 Jan 2006 08:35:15 -0500

> 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?

Once you leave the NE and Eastern Seaboard, you find if you dig deep
that many moderately sized towns are where they are and space to allow
a farmer to get up early and ride his horse and wagon into town and
back in one day. For a lot of reasons these towns survived for 100 or
more years. (Not all though.) Now things have changed. Upgrading phone
switches, finding someone to run a grocery store, putting in a cable
TV network, running train service, to these places just doesn't pay.
Especially if you are forced to charge state wide flat rates. Your
high prices make you lose customers in larger cities and the huge
capital requirements to update non profitable areas tie up your
ability to move forward. It's a mess but we have a Midwestern economy
based on 1900 economics. For many areas the only thing keeping them
afloat is riverboat gambling.

If I like an area and want to live there, I'll live with what it
has. If not I'll move. I've done it before. I'll likely do it again.

> 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.

No argument here, the airline industry and how the government and
bankruptcy courts have worked since 9/11 is a real mess. Too many
seats, too few cheeks to reverse a saying at the reservations center
where my wife works. As to who's subsidizing who, it gets real
complicated. Amtrak got a hug influx of money out of the treasury and
the treasury wrote 1000 year bonds to keep if off the books. The
airlines have been paying into a trust fund for decades from a ticket
tax that congress would spend everywhere else and write SS trust fund
like IOUs back to the fund. If you want to have some real fund dig
through that fund and see where it's money is today.

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