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View Diary: Sunday Train: Going on the Attack for Amtrak (57 comments)

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  •  All transportation systems require subsidies (6+ / 0-)

    Transit systems — whether we're talking about roads, airways, or railroads — are public conveyances.  They are a critical economic component and vital necessity for any society;  yet because of their expense and poor P&L ratio, it's not an attractive proposition for private interests.  

    Subsidies, I might add, come in all forms, not just cash payments.  The late Gov. Ann Richards of Texas referred to the Reagan Administration's decision to send US warships to escort oil tankers through the Persian Gulf.  "They might not like to call that a subsidy," she said, "but you can put lipstick on a hog and call it Monique and it's still a pig."

    Regarding intracity rail:  yes, we ought to subsidize that, too.  But no transportation system exists in a vacuum, and the entire transportation network achieves efficiency only with all components linked together.  Having both a functioning intercity rail service and intracity rail service actually makes both of them more efficient, because they compliment each other and the total ridership increases as the number of people who can link to either system increases.  

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