Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021February 2021March 2021April 2021
12345678910111213141516171819
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
News Every Day |

Amtrak’s Money‐​Losing Vision

Randal O'Toole

Amtrak responded to Biden’s “American Jobs Plan,” which would give Amtrak $80 billion (presumably over several years), with a “vision to grow rail service and connect new city pairs across America.” As shown in the map below, some of those city pairs might seem to make sense, such as Dallas‐​Houston and Los Angeles‐​Las Vegas.

Click image for a larger view.

But a lot of the cities being added to the map are so small — places like Rockland, Maine (7,500 people), Christiansburg, Virginia (25,000), and Cheyenne (76,000) — that even Amtrak lovers are skeptical. Matthew Yglesias, for example, says “Amtrak’s big idea of what to do with extra funding is to create new low‐​performing extensions to places with very low demand.”

In Amtrak’s vision, Cheyenne gets a train to Denver, as does Pueblo, whose urban‐​area population was 142,000. Duluth, with a population of 118,000, gets a train to the Twin Cities. Iowa City; Mobile & Montgomery, Alabama; Allentown, Reading, and Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Asheville and Wilmington, North Carolina will all be terminuses for new trains. Other trains will parallel existing trains to serve cities like Phoenix, Eau Claire, and Madison. Phoenix makes sense, if anything on this map makes sense, but Eau Claire has barely more than 100,000 people.

Of course, Amtrak isn’t promising to expand service to every city shown on this map if Congress gives it $80 billion. Most of that $80 billion would go to replacing or rehabilitating infrastructure in the Northeast Corridor. I’m pretty sure that Amtrak really wants to get the states to fund many of the light blue lines on the map.

But Amtrak also wants to expand the number of communities that will say they are dependent on it. It currently has no trains at all into Wyoming; adding a line to Cheyenne will potentially get it two more votes in the Senate. Adding a line to Louisville will help in the Bluegrass state as currently its only stop in Kentucky is in Paducah, an important town for rail history but which has only about 25,000 people.

Even Dallas‐​Houston or Los Angeles‐​Las Vegas trains don’t really make sense. These routes are so heavily covered by airlines, buses, and freeways that a passenger train is not going to attract many customers.

Amtrak’s last train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas took 6 hours and 50 minutes for an average speed of 50 miles per hour. Today, four different bus companies offer Los Angeles‐​Las Vegas service with buses roughly every half hour taking as little as 5 hours and 10 minutes at fares starting at $20. Eight different airlines offer Los Angeles‐​Las Vegas service with 70- to 80‐​minute flights roughly every half hour at fares that also start at, believe it or not, $20. Where is Amtrak going to fit into this market?

Amtrak argues that it “lowers carbon emissions” and “addresses the climate crisis.” But buses emit far less greenhouse gases per passenger mile than Amtrak’s Diesel‐​powered trains, and the trains do only slightly better than airliners. In 2019, Amtrak’s Diesels used 9 trillion BTUs carrying a little less than 4 billion passenger miles. Using standard factors, that works out to about 167 grams of carbon dioxide per passenger‐​mile. Buses emit only about 60 grams per passenger mile. The airlines emit about 174 grams per passenger‐​mile, but before the pandemic they were improving faster than Amtrak. I suspect that air travel will recover more than train travel so that, after the pandemic is but a distant nightmare, flying will be greener than Amtrak.

In its eagerness to expand its empire, Amtrak is hoping that everyone forgets that its ridership is down by 74 percent. While companies in the private sector try to reshape their businesses to gain back customers lost during the pandemic, Amtrak is simply trying to get more subsidies to make up for passenger revenues that will probably never recover to what they were in 2019.





Read also

PS5 has same ‘battery failure’ issue as PS4 that could lock you out of playing games

We are planning to float ESN in North – IPOB

Marjorie Taylor Greene says she'll introduce a resolution to expel Rep. Maxine Waters for her 'continual incitement of violence.'





News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on Today24.pro



Today24.pro — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here
News Every Day

Andrade vs Williams: Live coverage