AMTRAK – Another fine example of our tax dollars at work

This is a guest contribution by Tom Hargrave

I’m sure you’ve seen the AMTRAK commercials lately. Having fond memories of traveling just about anywhere in Germany by train, I decided to see what the service really offered.

And since I already travel between Huntsville, AL and Milwaukee, WI, I decided to see what a AMTRAK trip would cost me in time and money.

The cost was about the same as a plane ride – $351.00, but then I looked at the time it would take to travel from here to Milwaukee.

For starts, I would have to drive down to Birmingham, AL and add 2 hours for the trip.

But things get far worse from there.

The AMTRAK route starts with a 18.5 hour train ride from Birmingham to Washington, DC and that’s only day 1!

On day 2, I would take another 18 (OK, 17 hour, 40 minute) train ride from Washington DC to Chicago, IL.

And finally on day 3, I would take a 1.5 hour ride from Chicago, IL to Milwaukee, WI!

AMTRAK is just another fine example of our Federal tax dollars at work!

2 thoughts on “AMTRAK – Another fine example of our tax dollars at work”

  1. I agree with you Amtrak is wasting U.S tax dollars. Around large population areas, the train makes sense; however when you start traveling longer distances, planes are more realistic. The only exception is, when the train ride is part of a vacation adventure.

  2. I’d argue that even metro subway / train services are a waste of tax dollars. Why? Because anytime but rush hour they are pretty much empty but still run a regular schedule & these runs rack up cost.

    I lost the link to the article but someone did a study of the NYC subway system a while ago and calculated the ride cost the city more than $100 / per passenger – trip after factoring all of the empty and under utilized runs into the entire operating cost. In other words, they may be more than paying for themselves during rush hour but not enough to cover losses accumulated during non-rush hour.

    BTW, I’m not necesarely against rapid transit but a bus based service is more flexible than train and can taylor it’s service more to the actual market.

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