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Cost Cutting Convenience: An Amtrak Story

In the wake of the Amtrak rail disaster, a Congressional panel is cutting Amtrak funding, failing to restore a 15 percent cut made earlier. The Transportation Budget includes a $270 million cut in Amtrak funding to nation's only real passenger rail service. This follows other rejections of funding sought by the White House for rail safety grants, as well as other increases, such as $250 million for state supported routes like those in Michigan and $475 million for Amtrak’s rail facilities and positive train control.

The biggest complaint about public support for mass transit - buses and rail - is that it all should be paid for at the fair box exclusively.

This is a bogus argument, because those making it have no problem taking government subsidies for the roads they drive on or the traffic enforcement all paid for by the government, i.e. everyone, including those who don't drive.

If the anti-mass transit people were honest about these libertarian beliefs, then they would insist that toll booths be put up by each driveway, so that they and all drivers would have to pay to use side streets, thoroughfares and highways, as well as for all street parking, not just downtown.

It is the government that builds, operates and maintains the roads. While drivers contribute a little through the 16 cent gas tax, they pay nothing toward parking and local roads. These and the unfunded portion of state and county roads, as well as US and Interstate highways, are paid for by all citizens, those who drive and those who don't.

So, either those who demand that the government stop subsidizing buses and trains are either disingenuous about their beliefs or just selfish.