You gotta love trains. You gotta, you might say, since we all pay for them.
In taxes, subsidies.
The federal government’s Amtrak system loses $32 for every passenger — averaging all the routes. According to a recent Pew study, most lines of the system ran at a loss last year, many at a huge loss.
The Acela line, in the Washington, DC/Boston corridor, makes a profit of $40.50 per passenger, when depreciation costs are figured in. But most lines aren’t so solvent.
On the other end of the country, the Cascades line loses over $32 per passenger and the Coast Starlight squanders $100 more.
But these losses pale besides the Sunset Limited, from L.A. to New Orleans, which loses a whopping $462.11 per passenger.
Many of these routes should just be closed. People pay the full costs of car rides and plane rides, in droves, right now. There’s no reason to throw more money on “the problem” of routes that already suck up big bucks.
Were all routes sold off, line by line, private enterprise would abandon some — and make the rest profitable. Or go broke trying. But it wouldn’t be your dime going for the losses, unless you choose to invest in a post-Amtrak rail line.
Instead of this, the Obama administration threw a dozen billion bucks at high-speed rail.
That way we can go faster — go broke faster.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.