"Boardman leaves the organization with one victory: Amtrak has successfully negotiated a $2.45 billion loan from the Federal Railroad Administration. The funds will be used to buy new trains and upgrade the Northeast Corridor to operate at top speeds of 160 mph instead of the current 135 mph. Amtrak claims it will repay the loan out of revenues earned from the additional riders attracted to the new trains and higher speeds."
Ever notice how close are the smell of money, and bullshit? Me too.
". . . Amtrak doesn’t have enough money to maintain its tracks (most of which are in the Northeast Corridor), how will it find enough to also repay the loan? The answer is slight of hand: it will repay the loan with operating revenues that should be going into maintenance while it demands that Congress give it more money for maintenance. Under the terms of the loan, Amtrak doesn’t even have to start repaying it until 2022.
This is not the first time Amtrak has cooked the books and it probably won’t be the last. Boardman is also being lauded for Amtrak’s record ridership, but in fact that was back in 2012. Measured in passenger miles, Amtrak ridership has declined in every year since then, including 2015 and so far in 2016."
Waiter, tell the Amtrak chef I like my books cooked medium rare, and with a side of horseradish. Thanks. And about that speed increase . . .
"Another lie is the claim that it will speed trains to 160 mph between Boston and Washington. The reality is some of the $2.45 billion will be spent improving a short stretch of track between Washington and Baltimore, but this is likely to shave no more than a few minutes off its train times. Between New York and Washington, the current average speed of Amtrak’s fastest “high-speed” Acela is 82 mph (though most are about 78 mph). This speed allows the Acela to attract less than 3 percent of travelers in the Northeast Corridor (all Amtrak trains together carry about 6 percent, less than half of which is on the Acela). Will the $2.45 billion loan allow Amtrak to boost that average speed to more than 85? Probably not."
Reality always intrudes on these fantasies. How long before we hear of 220 mph trains traveling to the Moon?
"Many rail advocates like to point out that there is no reason to expect Amtrak to be profitable but that we should subsidize it anyway because almost every other country in the world subsidizes their passenger trains. But the United States is not like every other country. Not only do we have a long history of demanding that transportation and other services stand on their own, most rail lines in the U.S. are privately owned.
The United States has, in fact, one of the most efficient rail industries in the world, because it is private. Private owners have dedicated their lines to freight, where rail really works best, whereas the publicly owned rail lines in other countries are dedicated to passengers, where rail is marginal. This is because politicians go for the glitz, not efficiency, and passenger trains are glitzier than freight."
Here in Portlandia we see this routinely, with every new transit fiasco. We have a tram, that's how idiotic we are. Please top that, please!
I have written about how these wankers want gondolas, no, really, GONDOLAS! The Wall Street Journal gushes about Gondolas, no, not those gondolas
Oh, and Mag Lev. Mag Lev: Another word for Boondoggle
Frankly, this nonsense is getting out of hand. Amtrak is a total waste of money, hemorrhaging both passengers, and money. We need to either privatize, or shut this down, and forcefully cut all federal support for local transportation options. These are items which need to be funded by the people who actually use them. No rational economic decisions can be made where an entity like the federal government has the power to massively distort the market as it does. When the feds show up with a billion dollars to put in a light rail project, people actually believe they will be getting something worth a billion dollars, but they don't. The actual value is not as high as the value of adding enough buses to create a similar transit line. The reason is if the light rail line fails to achieve the ridership, which is pretty much always does, the excess capacity cannot be diverted to another line which could use it.
Buses allow this transfer, so if there are an excess of buses scheduled for one line they can be transferred to others, or used to create entirely new transit lines.
If trams, gondolas, Mag Lev, or another nonsense transit solutions actually make sense, let the private market provide them. The outcome of adding government is not lower cost, it is massively higher cost (see, Obamacare). In the allocation of scarce resources, the real price of the product is the only way the individual can determine whether that product is a valuable solution to a need, or problem. Defrauding the individual by falsifying the price is just that - fraud.
This is a symptom of the incredibly cronyism which currently infects the body politic. This works well for the cronies, the politicians, the bureaucrats, whose jobs are reliant, and a huge coterie of hangers-on, but it is destructive to the real economy, the middle class, and the lower class.
This is a hydra which must be fought every time it raises one of its myriad heads to strike a blow for cronyism, and against the Average Joe.