House steering committee proposes eliminating Amtrak

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AmtrakFlyer

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Page 117

Eliminate Amtrak Operating Grants and Capital Grants - The federal government has subsidized the National Rail- road Passenger Corporation - better known as Amtrak - since it was created by Congress in 1970. The railroad service consistently loses money and leaves taxpayers to foot the bill.490 Taxpayer money should certainly not be used for this ac- tivity. Instead of forcing taxpayers to subsidize Amtrak, it should be privatized. In FY 2022, the federal government spent $2.33billion on Amtrak.
 

AmtrakFlyer

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Agreed 100 percent. My only concern is Amtrak has it’s worst management in its history. If push comes to shove I don’t see Gardner fighting for the network. He’s no Claytor or Gunn. Hopefully Senate language remains in place requiring status quo. That all being said, even now Amtrak has the support of the majority of the House. The question is how much power the 20 hard right fringe members are going to be given.
 

Bob Dylan

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Page 117

Eliminate Amtrak Operating Grants and Capital Grants - The federal government has subsidized the National Rail- road Passenger Corporation - better known as Amtrak - since it was created by Congress in 1970. The railroad service consistently loses money and leaves taxpayers to foot the bill.490 Taxpayer money should certainly not be used for this ac- tivity. Instead of forcing taxpayers to subsidize Amtrak, it should be privatized. In FY 2022, the federal government spent $2.33billion on Amtrak.
Heritage Foundation Dogma for the Far Right in Congress, has been going on since the 70s!!!!
 

Willbridge

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Yeah. This gets proposed by somebody most of the time.

It's often the best fundraiser NARP has ;-)
As someone noted in my post about the anniversary of the '73-'74 Energy Crisis, Amtrak gets saved by a crisis of some sort that makes Congress members or Transportation Secretaries look foolish for supporting cuts. That's why mediocre management hasn't been able to kill it. And luckily Gunn and Claytor were in the right place at the right times when a crutch wasn't available.

It's too bad that the Amtrak board can't be counted on.

A treat from the past:
1978 05 RTN DOT plan 002.jpg
 

Anderson

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What's interesting is that with the exception of the California Zephyr (whose existence was, at the time, complicated by DRG&W still handling the key Denver-SLC leg), I can count a handful of state-supported segments that have been (mostly) added since then (those would have been 403(b) routes at the time) and several significant chunks that we don't have service on now but that are shown on that map (specifically, the Broadway/National Limited routes. (The Pan-American/Texas Eagle routing choices are negotiable, and I'd note that the Capitol Limited isn't on there because the split was still at Harrisburg.)

Edit: I'm going to reiterate my concern that, especially with debt ceiling nonsense going on, if the DOT doesn't get money out the door soon there are going to be calls for a clawback.
 
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It is unfortunate that we are back to this again. I guess Amtrak is a convenient poster child for "wasteful government spending" even though its budget is basically a rounding error in the overall government budgeting scheme. It is a paradox given that the LD trains, perceived as the least profitable parts of the system, provide in some cases the only public transportation in "flyover" country that tends to be conservative politically.

One hopes that those members realize that there may be other hills better to die on than the fight to zero out Amtrak's appropriation.
 

Bonser

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Page 117

Eliminate Amtrak Operating Grants and Capital Grants - The federal government has subsidized the National Rail- road Passenger Corporation - better known as Amtrak - since it was created by Congress in 1970. The railroad service consistently loses money and leaves taxpayers to foot the bill.490 Taxpayer money should certainly not be used for this ac- tivity. Instead of forcing taxpayers to subsidize Amtrak, it should be privatized. In FY 2022, the federal government spent $2.33billion on Amtrak.
Tax dollars have supported all forms of transportation for the last 175 years. Where would planes be without airports? Trains without land grants? Cars without roads. Yours is a poor reading of American history and quite selective too.
 
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It is unfortunate that we are back to this again. I guess Amtrak is a convenient poster child for "wasteful government spending" even though its budget is basically a rounding error in the overall government budgeting scheme. It is a paradox given that the LD trains, perceived as the least profitable parts of the system, provide in some cases the only public transportation in "flyover" country that tends to be conservative politically.

One hopes that those members realize that there may be other hills better to die on than the fight to zero out Amtrak's appropriation.
It's also easy to say "privatize it!", as it's already a self-contained quasi-Federal-governmental corporation. Not so easy with state-directed road funding or air traffic control.
 

Rambling Robert

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I would expect a massive mail campaign would be on order as done in the past by the RPA.

It’s interesting that when Amtrak was formed in 1970 that it had the backing of President Richard Nixon, who was I think a fairly bipartisan president.

I actually feel that Nixon had a genuine feeling for the little guy and an Amtrak network would make transportation by train available for both the businessman and businesswomen as well as farmers and low income families that lived at a distance from one another,. Privatizing it would change the ratio of those that need it the most.

It’s amazing that the early 1970s were very bipartisan and achieved more than Nixon ever got credit for. Energy self-sufficiency, particularly nuclear plants that were canceled by President Jimmy Carter, the creation of the EPA, ended the Vietnam war, worked the OPEC crisis with much greater less reliance reliance on gasoline, tackled the auto industry to require the installation of catalytic converter’s on cars.

Bipartisanism in the 1970s went a long way. TODAY we still have the EPA, we’re still working OPEC, working on energy, self-sufficiency, EV Replacing gas cars, possibly adding mini nuclear plants to the grid, we’re friends with north and south Vietnam now, just known again as Vietnam, and we still have catalytic converter’s on gas cars - unless yours was been stolen.

… And we still have Amtrak.
 
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Bembidion

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Heritage Foundation Dogma for the Far Right in Congress, has been going on since the 70s!!!!
I wouldn't assign it all of the anti-Amtrak talk to the far right; as Carl Fowler related to me a couple of years ago that the idea that Democrats as a group are pro-Amtrak and Republicans are against it is not necessarily true. There are exceptions on both sides. As an example, he didn't have anything good to say about Jimmy Carter's relationship with Amtrak. I'm neither a Republican, Independent, or Democrat.
 
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I wouldn't assign it all of the anti-Amtrak talk to the far right; as Carl Fowler related to me a couple of years ago that the idea that Democrats as a group are pro-Amtrak and Republicans are against it is not necessarily true. There are exceptions on both sides. As an example, he didn't have anything good to say about Jimmy Carter's relationship with Amtrak. I'm neither a Republican, Independent, or Democrat.
It's probably safe to assume that the people who choose to ride Amtrak come from ALL political parties.

Whenever we return from a long-distance train trip, we make it a point to write the Congressman who represents our particular district (and who happened to be a Republican) to let him know how important Amtrak is to us. Although we don’t always get a response, we feel certain that someone in his office has made a note of our letter. For every pro-Amtrak letter his office receives, someone on his staff undoubtedly factors in the ratio of other Amtrak rider/constituents who didn’t write but who feel as we do. (50 to 1? 100 to 1?) We’d like to think that this plays some part in how he votes in regard to Amtrak-related issues.
 
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