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Re: Trump's budget slashes Amtrak funding, phases out long-distance routes

Posted by JayZeeBMT on Sun Feb 16 20:28:36 2020, in response to Re: Trump's budget slashes Amtrak funding, phases out long-distance routes, posted by Osmosis Jones on Sun Feb 16 19:19:42 2020.

The Northeast Corridor pretty much pays for itself as well as some the long-distance losers, and connects some of the most populated cities in the United States with each other. Nothing would happen to it even if the feds were to fall on their heads one day and decided to stop subsidizing it.

One big reason the NEC does so well (besides the BosWash megalopolis itself) is that every mile of track on it, including the three branches, is owned by a government entity. The NEC, depending on where you are on it, belongs either to Amtrak, Metro-North, or the US Department of Transportation. Then there are usage fees Amtrak gets from the various commuter agencies running on its tracks (SEPTA, NJT, MARC, MBTA, MTA, CT Rail, SLE, VRE) plus the usual federal subsidy.

The other part of the equation is its high demand. If the "feds were to fall on their heads one day and decided to stop subsidizing it", it wouldn't be long before the catenary went cold, and everything stopped running. That would be a serious economic problem for 30+ million people that would be felt right away.

Think back to the period immediately post-9/11. Because nothing was flying, people jammed onto NEC trains like they were fleeing Godzilla. Nobody remembers it now, but every piece of rolling stock Amtrak could find that week, was put on to carry them. Without the NEC, the Northeast economy alone would have missed six days of activity, which on top of the huge, deep NYSE plunge on 9/17, would have put us in deep Depression territory. Just something to ponder.

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