Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ranting and Railing

This is ridiculous . . ..
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that Amtrak, the national passenger railroad, will get $2.5 billion that will go to improvements on the Northeast Corridor line from Boston to Washington, improvements to various stations, a new maintenance facility, and 28 new Acela train sets the will increase passenger seating by 40 percent.  The Acela trains, Amtrak's so-called "high-speed" train sets, will go 160 miles an hour or faster after track improvements are made.
So what is ridiculous about this, aside from the fact that some European bullet trains go faster than two hundred miles an hour and also the fact that Acela trains rarely reach their top speed owing to track curves and similar issues?
The $2.5 billion funding is a loan.
That's right, a loan, not a subsidy.  Amtrak is actually expected to pay it back, as if it were a completely private company, like General Motors.
This is just another example of how the U.S. government is non-committed to developing rapid rail in America.  Rather than invest in high-speed rail and commit public money to it, as it does with aviation and highways, the federal government is letting Amtrak borrow money to get its Acela (Spanish for "bullet train lite") service up to second-rate.   It was President Obama's Transportation Department that approved this loan, with the support of Amtrak supporter Joe Biden, our Vice President.  What happens if we get in 2017 a pro-business, anti-big-government President who decides we can't afford to lend money that Amtrak might take more than awhile to pay back?
Worse yet, what happens if Trump is elected President?      
High-speed rail in America?  I'll believe it when I see it, and as for the improvements Amtrak is borrowing money for, that goes double. 

No comments: