1. Regarding contribution to climate change:
Air "puddlejumpers" are shockingly, horrifically inefficient. Far better to fill a train from Utica, Syracuse, and Buffalo to Chicago than to run puddlejumpers from any of those locations to Chicago. I'm sure you can do the math, Bluejet. When you talk about LA-NY jumbo jets, you're doing apples to oranges. Compare apples to apples or I'll consider you to be arguing in bad faith.
2. Airlines are monumentally, massively subsidized.
This is mostly done through airport subsidies. I don't think you can deny that almost all airports in the US have been heavily subsidized for almost their entire existence. Hell, most of them were former Army Air Force bases which were *given for free* for use as civilian airports, so they started right off with free land and facilities. But coming to the modern era, they repeatedly get gigantic subsidies out of state and local tax dollars. (It's ***ing happening again to my local airport, for the third or fourth time, my state tax dollars being wasted on unnecessary airport expansion.) If you don't know this about airport funding, you're ignorant. Airports are DEFINITELY NOT funded just by landing fees, there's huge amounts of state & local tax money going into them.
And then there's "Essential Air Service" -- the annual funding for that is about 1/4 of Amtrak's annual funding by ITSELF! While EAS is justifiable in Alaska, most of the rest of it is subsidies to places which already have passenger train service which is cheaper. And it's subidies to those polluting puddlejumpers, too!c
3. I'm OK with subsidies for transportation, because it benefits the economy. But it's unfair and ridiculous to subsidize airlines by a huge amount, subsidize roads by far, far, far, far more, and then say that we won't subsidize trains.
4. Bluejet, if you don't realize who Amtrak is serving, I suggest you shut up and listen.
A. There's the 10% of Americans who don't fly at all. Most of them drive. Amtrak is far more efficient than driving and saves the governments of the US a lot of money on highway spending. (Let's be clear -- nearly everyone going between the biggest of cities on Amtrak is in this group. We absolutely should support these people, it's 10% of the population, it's more expensive for taxpayers if they're all driving.)
B. There's people going from third-tier cities to big cities. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of them. Again, most of them drive. Amtrak is far more efficient than driving, again, and saves the government money. But also, Amtrak is massively more efficient on these routes than flying polluting, low-capacity puddlejumpers multiple times per day. That's not even commercially viable in a lot of places, hence "Essential Air Service"... and cities which don't have an air option at *all*.
Amtrak isn't really competing with flying, it's competing with driving. But on the other hand, flying is totally uncompetitive in most of the "puddlejumper" markets, and the puddlejumpers only exist to feed passengers into the big-airplane routes. Trains can do this just as well or better, which is why the airlines (who mostly want to get out of the puddlejumper business) have started supporting train service.
5. To help break you of your misguided airline-based point-to-point thinking, I suggest you think about Amtrak's longer-distance routes as being like the Interstate Highways. How many people take the Interstate route all the way from New York to Chicago -- let alone NY to LA? Very few. Most of the people using the interstates are taking much shorter trips. However, it is efficient to have one connected-up network so that it is *possible* to drive from NY to Chicago, even though most people will be driving from NY to Poughkeepsie, Syracuse to Buffalo, or South Bend to Chicago. This is exactly what Amtrak long-distance routes do.
If you want to have a conversation then let’s have a conversation, the whole “shut up and listen” but gets old.
Amtrak vs “puddle jumpers”. I don’t know how many times I have to agree with people that Amtrak is far more efficient on short sub 400 miles journeys, so in case you haven’t heard... Amtrak is more efficient on short journeys. I take Amtrak almost weekly, on a short journey getting me to my aircraft.
EAS- a complete and utter waste for the most part of tax payer money.
Aiports- are usually bonded and landing fees, fuel taxes, etc pay for expansion and facilities. Even the 10 billion dollar expansion of JFK will be paid back via leasing fees and landing fees. Yes the original land was given and original airports were built to create a network, just like the original freight railroads were gifted their original right of ways. Today there is little if any subsidies being doled out, much like the freight railroads. You are correct that the original infrastructure was government built, but today little subsidy remains.
Highway modeling. That’s fine, again I’ve said that for some rural costumers long distance rail makes sense. No where, and I mean no where, have I advocated shutting down your long distance network. I’ve just stated it’s not competitive over long distances versus the airlines and that it is a niche travel product.
An a321 is not a “jumbo jet”. I’m arguing about long distance railroads vs flying. Short range I there’s a reason Acela and the railroads make so much sense and own so much market share.... they can compete in every way. Corridor services are very necessary, and very competitive. It’s long range rail in this country that is a niche public transportation product. You talk about arguing in bad faith, I’m having a discussion, one only necessarily because of the multitude of bad information that’s being put up on this thread. “Airplanes burn 10x as much gas as the train! A transcontinental jet burns 20000 gallons of gas to cross the country!” All hogwash, so there are the numbers. Regional jets can’t compete on short range flying against jets. Agreed. Short range trains make a lot of sense. Agreed. Long range trains are more fuel efficient then jets. Disagree.