Wednesday, June 26, 2002

This is the Red Line to Oblivion. The Train Will Not Be Stopping.

Robert Samuelson has an excellent summary of why the nation should end passenger rail subsidies and let Amtrak go quietly into graveyard of industry. He points out the extremely small number of people that Amtrak actually moves around the country – 0.3% of intercity passengers – and the fact that subsidies run as high as $300 per passenger, per trip. Amtrak supporters like to point out that passenger rail is subsidized all over the world; in most countries profitably is not a goal their systems seem to even attempt. That’s true, of course, but it says more about the decades of inefficient industrial policy in places like Western Europe than it does about American transportation policy.


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