Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

Brookings Institution Issues Flawed Report on Amtrak; Washington Post Buys It!

01 Mar 2013 11:52 AM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)
The Brookings Institution has come up with a way to "save" Amtrak. Pare losses on national network/long distance trains by forcing their funding to the states. 

Worse yet, media outlets like the Washington Post seem to think that this is a brilliant strategy:

Both Brookings and the Washington Post (and others) fail to realize that the subsidy per passenger basis which they use is flawed. Single train per day frequencies do not allow for economies of scale--and thus high "losses".

Also lost on the Washington Post in particular is the fact that the national network/long distance trains carry short-haul passengers between intermediate points on their routes and thus function as short haul trains on their own.

Brookings and others seem perversely focused on reducing federal funds to long distance trains without understanding their value. The Washington Post seems to agree and displays a similar ignorance in their coverage of the Brookings report. 

As for the "dump it on the states" idea, it's worth remembering that the last proponent of this approach was George Bush's anti-Amtrak Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta. 

And what a disaster such a "solution" would be for the Southeast. Does anyone here really see conservative legislatures of Southeastern states like Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama providing funds for Amtrak services? 

Letters to the editor of the Washington Post--and to the leadership at The Brookings Institution-- are encouraged.

--Jackson McQuigg

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