This article is really not even worth considering, because the authors don't actually cite any data to prove their points. For example, the idea that freight trains are headed to sidings to make way for Amtrak trains is refuted by an overwhelming mountain of anecdotal evidence from Amtrak riders across the country. It is widely accepted that Amtrak trains that miss their time slots end up wildly delayed.
It would take about two seconds to look up the ridership data on Amtrak's long distance trains to see that, as we all know here, while sleeper customers may use trains for experiential journeys, the vast majority of passengers are using long distance trains as corridor trains, in lieu of actual corridor trains, because corridor trains like the NEC - which the authors seem OK with - don't exist in most markets.
But really, the authors expose their true motivations in the last paragraphs.
The number of things factually wrong with these two sentences should be enough of an alarm to simply ignore the article.
- No, auto gas taxes do not
cover the cost of roads.
- No, airline ticket fees and fuel taxes do not cover the cost of airports. The $1 billion renovation of just one runway at O'Hare, for example, was funded by
federal grants (LARGESSE!) and bonds issued by the airlines.
- The authors have apparently lost count of the number of times US airlines have gone through bankruptcy protection, and the gargantuan sum of pension liabilities that airlines have simply decided not to cover and given over to the taxypayers. Only a tiny error of omission to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, but we'll call that a rounding error.
Most importantly, the authors have, predictably, no knowledge of basic history. The mighty freight railroads like CSX and Norfolk Southern are running on track that was owned by the government, renovated by the government, with markets that were cultivated by the government, all through Conrail. Only when Conrail was humming along efficiently did the freight railroads add these high functioning networks to their portfolios.
Oh, and the purchase agreements of Conrail for CSX and NS? They stipulate the running of Amtrak trains. Too bad those corporations were forced to buy up highly profitable freight trackage across the Eastern US!