Codey, Corzine & Lautenberg Hop Aboard Amtrack
Now to our views on Amtrack. Non-strategic lines that are not self-financing in the Amtrack system should be scrapped. For the lines that could reasonably be self-sustaining – keep them running, but raise the fares and freight charges to equal the costs. Perhaps if the loser lines were eliminated, Amtrack subsidies could be drastically reduced or eliminated.
Not to worry though, Congress won’t take any bold action, Amtrack will continue to lose money and the taxpayers will continue to subsidize the ever growing cost.
From a report in today's Newsday:
New Jersey's two U.S. senators and acting Gov. Richard J. Codey on Friday asked President Bush not to cut federal funds for Amtrak, saying any reduction would have disastrous effects for their state's commuters.
In a letter sent Friday to Bush, Democrats Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg urged the president to reconsider his proposal. The railroad has no long-term funding mechanism or trust fund and has to rely on year-to-year appropriations by Congress.
Amtrak has wide support in Congress and it is considered unlikely that lawmakers would agree to eliminate the operating aid. For the current year, Amtrak's capital infrastructure budget, which include maintenance costs, is about $418 million.
Aides said the President will propose $360 million for the maintenance costs of local commuter railroads that are concentrated mostly in the Northeast and use Amtrak lines and other equipment.