posted on Feb, 16 2005 @ 08:05 PM
Shape up or ship out! That's more or less the word from Transportation Secretary Mineta to Amtrak. The Bush Administration is prepared to cut the
one billion dollars a year in subsidies provided to the beleaguered system. Mineta says that every other mode of transportation has changed with the
times and it's time that Amtrak did the same. Subsidies to Amtrak's commuter services would remain.
The Bush administration's message to Amtrak is simple: Change or die.
If Amtrak isn't dramatically overhauled, the Bush administration is prepared to essentially junk it and save only the commuter-rail segments,
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said Wednesday. That's preferable, he said, to spending about $1 billion a year in subsidies to keep the
cross-country passenger-rail system alive.
In its 2006 budget, the Bush administration proposes eliminating Amtrak's annual subsidy, which is $1.2 billion this year. The idea is to force
Congress and Amtrak to institute sweeping change. Bush would limit Amtrak to owning and operating trains. Others - including state or local
governments - would own the rails, stations and physical property, much as private businesses run airlines but the government maintains airports.
Every other mode of transportation has changed dramatically since the 1970s, when trucking and aviation were deregulated, but not Amtrak, Mineta said.
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I can't say that I disagree with this. I'm not sure why the government needs to continue to subsidize cross-country rail service, if it is not a
profitable enterprise. Personally, I'm not too comfortable with the idea of traveling anywhere by Amtrak. I will have to say that rail travel has
its charms, but it does seem that rail travel has many more vulnerabilities safety-wise than even air-travel, except, I hope that the security
measures are less intrusive.
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[edit on 05/2/16 by GradyPhilpott]