Derail Amtrak In Idaho

What is it with politicos and trains? Seems they are all fascinated with the “concept” of having passenger trains…like the people riding the “Pumpkin Express” from Horseshoe Bend to Montour.

Europe and Japan have trains, why can’t Americans have trains? One reason they have trains in other places is because they have massive amounts of electricity–much of it generated my nuclear reactors. They also have lots of people in small areas.
The Pioneer Train ran 2,000 miles from Chicago to Portland with Omaha, Denver, Salt Lake and Boise as the only major metro areas served. It is still “Wild West” compared to the Eastern Seaboard.

That same mileage in Europe would take you from Rome to London with stops in Milan, Vienna, Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam with a few miles left over.
It would also pass within 50 miles of about 150,000,000 potential riders.

The latest folly comes from Idaho’s junior senator, Mike Crapo. Junior appears to be pressuring Amtrak into a costly “study” of providing rail service to the sparsely populated American West, including Boise. The hidden message of “feasibility study” for rail service to Idaho is Junior won’t vote for an $11.4 billion Amtrak funding bill unless they at least consider Idaho.

That may sell well to Junior’s elderly constituents, but it doesn’t say much about sound fiscal judgment since the rail line lost more than $20 million on the Chicago-Portland run during its last year of service in 1997.

No need for a survey. The GUARDIAN will tell the junior senator the following for FREE:Eurostar.jpg

  • Tracks in Boise alone are in disrepair and haven’t been maintained for 10 years.
  • Boise City owns the Depot and trains conflict with weddings and parties.
  • Diesel fuel costs have tripled in 10 years.
  • Wage and benefit packages for Amtrak staff are much higher than 10 years ago.
  • ALL of the passenger facilities on the line are closed.
  • Trains are a slow and costly means of travel in the sparsely populated Western spaces.
  • Support for trains is based on nostalgia, not common sense and economics.
  • Pork barrel politics is selfish and not in the best national interest of America.
  • It makes much more sense to subsidize Greyhound to offer transport to rural areas.

An ironic graphic example of the folly is how handy the math works out on Amtrak losing $20 million a year on the 2,000 mile stretch of track. By our calculations, if you placed $1 bills (6 inches long) end to end on the track, $20 million would just about make a perfect fit. (Hint: 5280 feet per mile)

Taxpayer money should not be used for tourist-type train rides along the Columbia River Gorge or across the Rocky Mountains. Greyhound will do it a lot cheaper.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. But how will Tim Woodward re-live the good ole days if we don’t bring back trains. I for one am perfectly willing to throw my tax money at someone else’s nostalgia.

    EDITOR NOTE–It won’t be YOUR taxmoney. It will be taxes from people in populated states subsidizing the “outback,”

  2. I am sick and tired of hearing every elected offical talk about how great trains and buses are. Look, People are not going to ride them in any numbers that will be profitable. I hate to be the one to burst the utopian bubble, but people want convience. The key to our energy problem is somethng like electric cars. Before all of you go off, watch the movie ” who killed the electric car?” and then get back to me.

  3. Amtrak is a sacred cow that looses money but actually makes sense in the North Eastern parts of the U.S. as a commuter alternative that works. It’s the long haul tracks, mostly out west that are a big drain on the budget but Crapo finds it easier to take advantage of the existing pork barrel program rather than helping alternative transportation initiatives such as light rail in Boise.

    I have read the Guardians position on light rail and the raw cost to taxpayers associated with it but I noticed they didn’t account for quality of life or environmental costs associated with continuing on the current path of building more freeway lanes.

  4. Inside City Hall
    Oct 27, 2007, 9:17 pm

    Hate to tell you all this but the city fathers want to turn the Historic Depot into a transit station and remove everyone else (that does not ride their train)from using or enjoying it.

    It will become nothing more than a bus station to transfer train riders to buses and back again.

    Wait until you see all the needed traffic changes that will have to take place on the bench. Bye bye historic Depot. Bye bye quiet bench nieghborhood. Hello to a BILLION dollars in new taxes.

  5. Whew! Guardian, you really got your hackles up on this one!

    So what happened to the guy who used to be Boise Guardian — the one who frequently harped about traffic, air pollution from cars, etc.

    Seems to me one engine or two would use a helluva lot less fuel to hall a few hundred people somewhere than a few hundred cars, trucks, SUVs, etc., would.

    My wife and I took Amtrak from Boise to Washington D.C. some years back. It’s a great way to travel — sort of a cruise ship on wheels. Saw a lot of country, met a lot of fun people, ate and drank and read and slept … and arrived all relaxed and refreshed (even though we had to sit up two nights one way and one night the other way, because the train was packed and there weren’t enough rooms. Many of the riders had to sit up all the way both ways. And you don’t think people will take trains?)

    Yeah, it takes a lot longer to get there than being crammed into an aluminum tube and zoomed through the air, tied to your seat beside the fat guy and right in front of the screaming baby. But no hassles getting on, your luggage goes with you, you can go to the restroom whenever you wish, eat in the dining car or carry your lunch or snack at the snack bar or whatever you prefer. You can get up and walk around anytime (I walked the length of the train a couple of times, just for fun (and to not get cramped up like on a plane).

    Cruise ships take a helluva lot longer to get you to wherever than planes do, too, but thousands of people still ride them.

    As for subsidizing it — how much do we the taxpayers hand over to the fed so they can hand some back to build more roads so we can clog ’em up with our four-wheel vehicles (and, yeah, I drive; I’m no purist — I enjoy driving on many trips, but riding the train sure beats it for comfort, etc.)

    Take a break, and hand the reins back to the growthaphobe Guardian. Betcha he’d like to see people like me take the train to Seattle or whereever instead of putting one more car on the road.

    #1 The guvment doesn’t pay for the cruise ships.
    #2 We suggested subsidizing BUSES if they want to just move people.
    #3 If so many people want to ride, the Union Pacific would still be in the passenger business.
    #4 If you have 2-3 each way at a convenient time it would be fine, but given Boise’s location and the 8-12 hr ride to Salt Lake or Portland, you either start or finish at unreasonable hours of the night.
    #5 Just to provide a single token daily train in each direction would take at least 5 complete sets of equipment costing many hundred million dollars.

  6. I love the idea of riding on Amtrack once again. But I am sick and tired of my tax money going to help big business when it will not help kids. Period.

    I am sick and tired of the hassle of flying (I am not the only one pulled off to one side time and again, and subjected to a semi-strip search), where I feel as if I am one step away from being stacked like a cord of wood inside the working class section of an Ameican aircraft. I could go on, but you all know what I am talking about.

    So no train, crappy air “service” leaves us with the millions of cars driving from Boise to the destination of your choice. Or take a slow, turtle moving bus.

    Poor old buses. They have the reputation of hauling only the poor, ill bathed, shifty eyed loosers of the population. If the bus lines want more folks using them, let them create sexy adds. Buy some space on a movie which will make bus riding look like something we would want to do. OH, and make them arrive sooner than driving your own car.

    Dave, I’d like to hate you for making me change my mind about Amtrack in Idaho, but I know that you are right.

  7. Traveling by air is a lot different now then it was 12 years ago. If given the choice between flying to Portland, or taking the train… I’m taking the train.

  8. I am a native Idahoan living on the east coast. I ride Amtrack frequently,certainly an improvement over flying, only complaint Amtrack rents track from CSX on some routes, freight tracks are rough ride’n. DC to Boston are passenger tracks, they are certainly an improvement. Riding the Acelia is great, we need a decent national Acelia system! Acelia travels about 150 miles an hour sometimes faster—-fun

  9. We were amazed when we moved here 8 years ago and found out there wasn’t any passenger train service in the area. There is certainly plenty of freight trains around so the railways system IS established.

    On the east coast there is a great railway option – like a land ferry – where you pay a little extra to put your passenger car onto the train with you. Then you travel the long distance in relative luxury on-board and have access to your vehicle when you get to your destination. Since the population is aging, this is a great solution for people who can’t handle driving long distances. Personally, because the drive from here to Portland or here to SLC is so incredibly boring, I’d love to be able to do part of it by train.

    I seriously doubt The Depot will end up being a terminal. I see the new service going into the southern part of the city, near the already established freight rails. I heard the main terminal was going to end up in Nampa, too.

  10. Boy, am I not agreeing with you on this issue.

    There are lots more people in the valley now than 12 years ago. I expect many who travel regularly to Salt Lake or Portland or Denver would like to have a choice of transportation.

    There are zillions of baby boomers coming to retirement who aren’t in a hurry when they go visit grandkids and also there are many who shouldn’t be driving at freeway speeds.

    Like another post mentions, flying isn’t fun anymore and usually drops you off in a hub city far from your final destination so you still have to find another transportation system.

    Since we subsidize highway construction and even the airline industry, why shouldn’t we subsidize train travel? Train travel uses much less fossil fuel per person than flying or driving.

    And it is fun. When’s the last time you heard the word fun in the same sentence as airline? Or bus? Besides there are not many places left that have regular bus service.

  11. sam the sham
    Oct 28, 2007, 11:06 pm

    there is a difference in train travel when you just add a passenger car to a milk train. The working trains may make frequent stops and have to take the time to take off certain cars and put on others, which take up a lot of time. If you have the time to spend and like spending it in the middle of “nowhere special” with the bumps of train cars being added on, then it just may work.
    I don’t like air travel anymore (unless it is out of the states) and driving is not as much fun…so I’d like to ride the rails again. But I also think that Dave is making some valid points.

  12. why do people move here and then they are amazed? didn’t they check the place out first to be certain that they liked where they were going to be living?
    ooops that’s not the topic, is it?
    But it is true. Why move to a small town if you just want to make it into the city you just left…why not just stay in the city?

  13. Response to EDITOR NOTE–
    #1 The guvment doesn’t pay for the cruise ships.
    #2 We suggested subsidizing BUSES if they want to just move people.
    #3 If so many people want to ride, the Union Pacific would still be in the passenger business.
    #4 If you have 2-3 each way at a convenient time it would be fine, but given Boise’s location and the 8-12 hr ride to Salt Lake or Portland, you either start or finish at unreasonable hours of the night.
    #5 Just to provide a single token daily train in each direction would take at least 5 complete sets of equipment costing many hundred million dollars.

    1. You’re right — as long as you don’t count the tax breaks, etc. Of course, cruise ships don’t have to pay for the “rails” the use.
    2. OK, so you get jammed into a metal tube on the ground instead of one in the air. Still tight seats, no room to walk around, no dining car, bar car, beds. Not much of an improvement (and, yes, I have ridden buses long distances, too).
    3. That’s bull. It wasn’t lack of passengers that killed the U.P., AT&SF, etc., passenger service — just corporate greed. (You don’t have to provide *any* services for crates, cars, tanks full of oil, etc.) along with some infamous mismanagement.
    Still, what would be wrong with the older method of having a few passenger cars on the end of the freight train, as they used to do? Wouldn’t have to be a whole separate bureaucracy such as Amtrak.
    4. You may be right there, if those are the only places you want to go. As I said, we rode from Boise to D.C., both leaving and arriving at convenient times in the afternoon. Maybe the combined trains also would alleviate this problem, too.
    5. Who was talking about buying all new trains? Amtrak is still running passenger trains in parts of the country, so it still has cars. Freight trains are still running, so rails are still around.
    Sounds like you’re working for the airlines, amigo.

  14. I used to ride the train quite often when I was a kid. You can’t complain about people not using public transit when useful public transit is non-existent.

  15. right_on_boise
    Oct 29, 2007, 8:50 am


    You have more people moving to the Boise area that are very used to driving to work, than arrands during and after work, the trains & buses do not allow for such ease and freedom. Besides all the extra time out the day to transfer from train to bus to bus etc… Get used to an extra 100,000 people by 2020!! Better work on the freeways,surface streets and downtown parking now!!

  16. Maybe Naomi touched on a great idea for justifying this proposal by enhancing rail travel out here — the land ferry option. So what if you arrive in SLC or Portland late at night? Just finish up a relaxed trip by hopping in the personal vehicle you brought along and drive to your ultimate destination.

  17. The Guardian is either stirring the pot with this post or he really is a whack job. Im just glad he’s our whack job.
    We are staring at $100/barrel oil today unlike the last time Amtrack was here. Driving will get more expensive. Flying will get more expensive.
    It takes tax subsidies to pay for more freeways.
    It takes massive tax subsidies to build nuke plants. They are not even profitable if it weren’t for govt. welfare.
    I just got back from Pocatello and everyone there I talked to said they would appreciate and use a train to Boise, Salt Lake, and Portland.
    I refuse to fly because I fit the terrorist profile. Brown skin, beard and Middle Eastern name. I get the big frisk everytime not to mention big flight delays. Trains tend to run on time.
    The G-man is just another trainophobe. He will never get on board on this choo choo.

  18. As much as I would love to see a train coming through Boise, unless it was on par with driving time or flying time and costs were similar to each, there is no need for passenger rail service to/from the Treasure Valley.

    Come on junior don’t fall into the same-ole trap of porker politics.

  19. Mass transit infrastruture has to work from the inside out, not the other way around. You have to have a FUNCTIONAL mass transit system INSIDE the cities before you build passenger train lines to connect them. It would take the valley 15 years to do this if they started NOW. Trains work on the east coast, for instance, because entire regions like New York city and the surrounding area have tons of mass transit options. Many people in NYC don’t even own a car. Try that here!

  20. There once was a loop of track that came off the mainline behind Boise Town square, dropped down the bench and crossed the river on the old bridge next to Fairview Ave and roughly followed the connector between the Grove and Eight St. market place and then out to near the Micron plant before rejoining the mainline.

    If that right away had been preserved we could have commuter trains running already from the Idaho Center to the Qwest Arena and commuters could use the same parking lots and route. It would also run from the new community college to the Depot for BSU students and teachers crossing between the two schools. Think of it, a rail line that could serve shoppers, sports fans, downtown commuters, Micron employees and students. The S-16 corporation owns a lot of this right away now, along with the IDT. It’s not too late to restore the loop at least as far as the new parking garage at BODO and build a train station in the lower level of the garage.

    It may take 15 years to build a functional mass transportation system if we start NOW and it would have been fully in place already if we had started 15 years ago and if we put off starting it for another 10 years, it will be 25 years out.

    I moved to Idaho in the early seventies, Boise High class of 74 and never had or needed a drivers license before that having lived in Japan where I rode the trains and in Honolulu where the bus systems worked great. A combination of the two would work well here.

    EDITOR NOTE–You make some good points, but we have to live with the reality that times have indeed changed when it comes to existing right-of-way, bridges, etc. No one has done anything with our express bus idea, “above ground” subway grid using buses etc. The politicos are after trains, trains, trains. Also, the Junior Crapo deal is for AMTRAK between Chicago and Portland, not local transit.

  21. Trains a lot
    Oct 29, 2007, 8:47 pm

    I rode the Pioneer several times. It remains a fond memory. Boise is not an isolated place. We are in fact a crossroads.

    It’s too bad we have not learned much from the mistakes in other parts of the country. The “free”way from Boise to Caldwell is a nightmare. And I am genuinely afraid when I have to drive from Boise to Mountain Home at 80 mph in the slow lane.
    Bring back the trains and bring back civility and comfort in travel.

    If that be nostalgia, then bring it on!

    EDITOR NOTE–Crossroads? To Jordan Valley? Idaho City?

  22. During the mayoral debate this afternoon (turns out the ONLY one between now and the election because Bieter has gone into hiding for the last 4 forums) Jon Duane from KFXD had some amazing statistics presented during a question on transit.

    Seems Jon has run the numbers and it appears that we are subsidizing each individual rider on a city bus to the tune of $3,700.00 PER RIDER!!! That’s right sportsfans, we would be money ahead if we PAID every person using the bus $3,000.00 Dollars and let them call a cab! Hell, we would be money ahead if we BOUGHT them a cab!
    What a mayor!
    What a great 2/3 of a city council!

  23. —Tracks in Boise alone are in disrepair and haven’t been maintained for 10 years.

    Then how is it that several freight trains pass by the depot every day?

    —Boise City owns the Depot and trains conflict with weddings and parties.

    How is that a problem? Like people can’t plan these things in knowledge of a train schedule?

    —Diesel fuel costs have tripled in 10 years.

    Then shouldn’t we be moving things with the most fuel efficient system we have — trains?

    —Wage and benefit packages for Amtrak staff are much higher than 10 years ago.

    You would prefer they were worse???

    —ALL of the passenger facilities on the line are closed.

    Duh, because there are no passengers any more? You mean there are no restrooms for the weddings?

    —Trains are a slow and costly means of travel in the sparsely populated Western spaces.

    Slower than an airplane, but they are inherently cheap.

    —Support for trains is based on nostalgia, not common sense and economics.

    Just because you might feel nostalgic, don’t think that’s the motivator for everybody else. I don’t think Warren Buffet is bullish on trains because of any nostalgia.

    —Pork barrel politics is selfish and not in the best national interest of America.

    A country’s railroad system is a strategic asset.

    —It makes much more sense to subsidize Greyhound to offer transport to rural areas.

    Yeah, avoid discussion by changing the subject. In this case, you introduce two specious topics.

    1. “subsidize Greyhound”
    2. “rural areas”

    I’ll pass.

    EDITOR NOTE–To address a few of your comments: Tracks in question are between mainline and Gowen Road. Tell Amtrak $20 million loss is cheap.

    Rail system is great for freight–we did away with passengers 10 yrs ago. Increased costs mean increased losses. Go drink a latte.

  24. “it appears that we are subsidizing each individual rider on a city bus to the tune of $3,700.00 PER RIDER!!!”

    And what would be the subsidy for each individual MOTORIST? It might be more sensible to count individual trips and uses, as opposed to people.

    In any case, I believe trains are an archaic form of transportation. They are a relic of steam technology, when the only machines capable of converting matter into movement weighed dozens of tons and there were no roads to carry them, so special tracks had to be built. We could have done without trains for decades, but there’s a huge investment in them going back some 170 years so we keep exending tracks for them.

    Anything a train can do, a bus can do at lower cost and with greater speed and flexibility. But busses just don’t have the sex appeal of trains, I agree.

  25. Cyclops,

    Dude, like I’ve been saying all along, the city should pay people to ride bikes.
    Pay commuters, children on their way to school,bike messengers, anyone who uses a bike instead of a car. One dollar a day is cheap and there will be more parking for cagers (car drivers).

  26. OK, we’ve about worn this one out.
    Guardian is antitrain, no matter what.
    Those of us who prefer comfortable travel are protrain, no matter what.
    Those who think one engine and one driver per 30 or so people is better than one or two engines and a staff of three or four to haul a couple of hundred people favor buses.
    Those who have not driven in L.A. or Las Vegas or Reno in recent years think building more freeways will solve the problem.
    Those who are in such a big hurry to get wherever they are going prefer airplanes — and will continue zipping back and forth across the lanes to get rid of those of us who are content to take our time and get somewhere relaxed and safe, even if later.
    And probably only the Al-Qaida types and other militants will make the decision, by continuing to blow up oil pipelines, refineries, etc. until we all return to horses, bicycles and our own feet.
    Or perhaps the giant volcano, a wandering comet or asteroid, rising sea levels or huge earthquakes will redesign the whole discussion.
    Then what will we have to argue about? 🙂

  27. Gordon, I am truly sorry that you are so worried about AQ and asteroids and volcanos and such. How do you give thanks for the warmth of the morning sun, or all those other things that bless us all each and every day?
    Some food for thought:
    Seattle to Chicago:
    AMTRACK 282.00 plus meals and tips figure $450.00 total Duration 90 hours.
    Southwest Air $622.00 round trip Duration 8 hours.
    Bottom line- if you want a restful, relaxing “mini-vacation” the train is for you.
    For the rest of us, it’s still boarding group “C”

  28. curious george
    Oct 31, 2007, 1:35 pm

    Sorry I can’t agree with any inference that a politician that says the Treasure Valley ought to have passenger train service isn’t making (or can’t make) the distinction between such service and local mass transit.

    That kind of sloppy thinking would also lead us to forgetting about purchasing the remainder of the rail spur line from Gowen Road to downtown Nampa – because “trains just don’t work”. Buying that right-of-way is necessary regardless of your position on rail-based transit, because there’s no cheaper 200-foot wide corridor of land linking Boise, Meridian, and Nampa than the rail spur line. A lot of things can happen in 200 feet – bike lanes, bus lanes, bus-rapid-transit (buses that think they’re trains) lanes, etc. These are critical alternative commute needs in the Valley that would be very expensive to retrofit into existing roadways (or I-84).

    And remember, just because a politician says they want something (even a junior Senator) doesn’t mean they’ll get it. Any train-based mass transit proposal coming out of Idaho will have to compete head-to-head with all the other requests from states that have a long history of securing funding for transit – and who have in place the local physical and fiscal infrastructure to maintain the system if their grant request is successful.

    The beautiful thing about the spur line is that it is so flexible in use. You can run Heavy Freight, Commuter Rail, Light Rail, Buses, and Bikes in the corridor – and all the rail-based alternatives can run on the same set of tracks. The only alternatives that can run on the main line, the one that runs south of town, are Heavy Freight and Commuter Rail (Amtrack & Acelia, et al). The NTSB prohibits Light Rail from running on Heavy Freight lines.

    I’m all for giving buses a chance to work – and no one can say we’ve done a fair job at it to date. If some type of light rail system is in Boise’s future, it may be a long way off and we’ll have to grow into it. The first step is getting the rail spur line, and securing the rights to the remainder of the spurs in the valley. “We” (with aggressive & fair public private partnerships) can build-up the necessary infrastructure that could eventually service a light rail system by looking at it as a bus-rapid-transit system, even if we ultimately decide not to get light rail no money will be wasted.

    I don’t want the “tail” of Amtrack’s poor performance to wag the dog of local mass transit – or to color the discussion about buying the spur line.

  29. Yossarian_22
    Oct 31, 2007, 10:25 pm

    You people who hate trains and public transit are really living a fantasy if you think your happy motoring utopia is going to continue. Oil set another record today @ $95 a barrel! It’s been going up a buck every 2 days for a couple of weeks. We’ll be at a hundred bucks in a few days or weeks, and Peak oil is just getting started. I hope you like sucking on gas through a hose to fill your stupid car because if you wanna drive it with no alternative to take, you’ll be stelaing what’s left out of your neighbor’s heap, if he hasn’t emptied it yet.

    It doesn’t sound like you guys feel like cooperating with all of the me, me, I, I capitalist rhetoric crap I’m hearing so I guess you’ll be competing with everyone for the tablescraps of what tomorrow offers. Good luck with selling all of your Broncos memoralbilia for food and clothes.

    Idaho really is just another name for Dumb#*&%istan!

  30. Amtrak is needed from Portland to Salt Lake City to serve the rural communities far from the city airports. It’s not just for the Boise residents. It could serve Baker, La Grande, Ontario – people who don’t want to commute 2-3 hrs to the nearest airport. My dad is 88 and I would love to put him on Amtrak headed to Portland from Idaho. We used to take this train often and loved it. Please bring it back!!

  31. I’ll ride it you illiterate Idaho Rednecks. You won’t be able to ride your ATV’s on the interstate for long when gas prices hit $4. And Dave, if you’re such a great forward thinker, then why are you stuck making your paltry $35000 a year as a faggot blogger?

  32. all this chatter is revolving around the longer distances between Chicago and Portland

    i’m not certain about the economics of those longer hauls, but it doesn’t seem like a big streatch to put in a comuter rail system in the Treasure Valley

    maybe something that would loop W from Micron through Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Ontario then E through Star, Eagle and back to Micronland

    besides that, and although i’m not quite as poetic as Jack, i’ll ride it too…and i live here

  33. Phil Jenkins
    Jan 12, 2009, 4:49 pm

    Can’t agree more! Drop those backwater holes like Boise and put the bucks where the people are. Two and a 1/2 hour rail service from Seattle to Portland (very possible and for not too much $$) and you’ll close the third runway at Sea-Tac, bankrupt Horizon, and take a whole bunch of pressure off I5. Put the money where it will work–on routes under 300 miles in length with more people than jack rabbits. By the way, the person talking about “convenience?” I’ll take a train any day from Portland to Seattle (or Eugene or Vancouver for that matter) over the hassle I get everytime I show up in an airport. There is a very real place for rail service in this country–we just need to build it and stop arguing about it. -Phil Jenkins

  34. ALL mass transit in the USA is subsidised by someone….

    The air industry has not made a consistent profit for decades….millions of investors money been poured in…then the airports with massive municipal investments some of which have not returned .

    the auto industry has enjoyed tax breaks for years from all levels of government.

    not forgetting the money put into freeways and roads.

    Many bus routes across the USA get subsidized and until recently Greyhound was in a sea of red ink.

    So why do people get upset about the money going into Amtrak?

    Having said that, Amtrak is an inefficient organisation. Compare trains in France, Korea, Spain, Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden. Some rail lines in those countries actually make money. The overstaffed practices in Amtrak need to look at the efficiencies in those countries. eg the Paris-Lyon TGV which took a massive investment has been profitable for years.

    There are incredible environmental reasons to reduce car usage ..even with electric cars there is still an enviro cost.

    EDITOR NOTE–We find it mind boggling that given all the above arguments our federal government is spending tax money to bailout the auto industry to insure there are even MORE cars produced in the future.

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