Amtrak Service To Come To A Halt In The U.S.?

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It will if President Bush has his way. He wants to cut 40% from Amtrak’s budget…and they are barely making due as it is now. When we took our Amtrak trip in December, I spoke to both of our car attendants and they each mentioned the fact that Amtrak has no money and they have been slowly cutting a lot of service. If Bush’s budget goes through as is (which won’t happen, and although unlikely, Amtrak’s budget could stay in), we can expect to see Amtrak either seriously cut back and/or stop service altogether on some lines. While every other major country on earth is investing heavily in high-speed rail travel due to emissions from flying and the cost of fuel, the United States acts as though it wants to cut train travel out entirely and only subsidize air travel.

From ENN:

Around the world, high speed rail is the happening thing. In Europe 6,000 kilometers (3700 miles) of high-speed lines are due to be built by 2020, tripling the length of the existing high-speed network. China is expected to build 3,000 kilometers (almost 1900 miles) of high-speed railways within 15 years. Argentina has recently announced plans to build a 710 kilometer-long (440 mile) line from Buenos Aires to Cordoba , the first high-speed line in Latin America. Morocco is considering high speed rail also powered in part by renewable energy – solar. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Portugal, Russia and Sweden are all considering high speed rail. At least fourteen other countries already have it.

And according to Bush’s new 2009 federal budget:

Airlines, which are public companies, are going to get over $1 billion in subsidies through the FAA.
Amtrak, which is a government private “company”, is going to only get an $800 million budget.

How about we switch those around and spend money where it is needed most, George? Pretty soon the U.S. is going to look like we have the trains of the Wild West compared to the rest of the world!

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Comments

  1. this is unspeakably lame. just another way the US has got it backwards. i love amtrak, but it’s pretty flawed and i wish it had the resources to improve. flying is just not the same–it’s faster, but in every other respect the experience is worse, and some would argue that faster isn’t necessarily better anyway.
    what are we train travelers to do?

  2. I suppose we could walk or take hot air balloons, but I am guessing it’s not that effective. 🙂

    I really don’t know, but if someone with a lot of money would buy Amtrak and privatize it, I bet it would be a lot better. After our trip, we want to travel that way all the time!

  3. I hope someone does come along to privatize Amtrak. It would be a great venture for all the celebrities who are trying to “green up” their image. It’s so ridiculous to cut funding, especially when our journeys into alternate fuels aren’t getting us too far.

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