If this editorial was not such a naked appeal on behalf of petroleum-dependent passenger transportation industries, we would have enjoyed it a lot more.
The editors are right: there is something wrong with a passenger rail system that loses a half billion dollars after enjoying a banner year.
Where the editors are wrong is in condemning passenger rail altogether. Buses and airplanes are fine substitutes for passenger rail when Brent crude is selling at $88.34 a barrel. Once that price begins to rise – and it will – rail is going to become an essential mode of travel for a growing number of people.
The way I look at Amtrak – right or wrong – is as the seed corn for a new passenger rail industry that we will need at some point in the foreseeable future. That said, it is time we started digging into how to make Amtrak more efficient – even if it means dropping some money-losing routes.
- Amtrak says western Kansas rail service could move by 2016 (kansas.com)
- Amtrak on track to set new ridership record (rail-usa.com)
- The wrong question about Amtrak’s profitability (economist.com)