66 BILLION ($$$$$$) for A M T R A K !!!

eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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Sounds bigger than it is.... Roughly $6B per year spread over ten years, and I'm guessing not all of it will be spent.

Over half is already committed for rolling stock and engine replacements that will last 30-40 years (and take ~10 years to deliver), projects like the Gateway (NJ-NY) and Baltimore tunnel projects which will have 100 year lifespans if the current tunnels are any indications, and replacing some 100 year old bridges in the BOS-NYC-WAS corridors.

Those are good investments regardless if Amtrak makes sense, as the equipment, bridges and tunnels will live on long after politicians get tired of Amtrak as an entity....

Another chunk is already allocated to update aging stations to ADA standards. Perhaps not the wisest money spent.

What doesn't get spent on hard assets will be squandered on pork projects trying to reinstate rail service in places that haven't seen it in over 50 years.

The biggest pork offender is reinstating NYC to Scranton along a corridor where the rails were removed in the 1970's.

Then there's adding service between places like CLE-CMH-CVG or TUS-PHX.

Fortunately, some of those expansions won't actually move beyond paying out consultants because they would require the states to pick up their share of funding, which is always in doubt.



Biggest beneficiary of any route expansion improvement projects ultimately won't be Amtrak. It will be the six big railroads (UP/BNSF/CSX/BNSF/CN/CP) that Amtrak runs over outside the BOS-NYC-WAS corridor.

Case and point.... In the 2009 ARRA "Stimulus" Amtrak spent ~$1.2B upgrading CHI-STL with the promise of 110mph service, and when you include state and local funds, it's been closer to $2B.

Today, that stretch of track handles fewer Amtrak trains and passengers than it did in 2010, and they have yet to hit even 90mph much less reduce the travel time from 5.5 hours to 4 hours (the average speed including station stops is still around 55mph, slower than driving....).

But it allowed Union Pacific to double the amount of freight trains they run for profit between the two cities....
 
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eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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I don't disagree. At best, it should be left to the states that want to subsidize service.

The NEC is actually profitable, and many of the state services supported using state funds (with fares offsetting the subsidy to varying degrees).

But city to city? Wasted money with only a few exeptions like the AutoTrain from DC to Florida.
 

eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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Nobody questions bridges, roads or tunnels where the costs drop off considerably once they're built.

It's all the socially motivated stuff that demands equal or increased funding in perpetuity that drives half the country nuts.
 

La Li Lu Le Lo

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May 29, 2010
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I'd like to think that solid infrastructure is one of the few things everyone here can agree on...
What is "solid" about infrastructure that benefits few people and costs the country BILLIONS of dollars every single year?

AMTRAK is nothing but a money laundering scheme for the Democratic Party. The only fans are the over paid UNION employees who work there.

Where is the benefit to me for my tax dollars to fund a company whose services I will never use that reallocate those funds to a political party I am opposed to.

It's crooked and you damn well know it.

"Solid Infrastructure"...... GMAFB.
 

eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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Not entirely true, La Di Da. I'm a fan of Amtrak as well.

They do serve a role in densely populated corridors, but as far as long-distance interstate travel goes, they are as outdated as a stagecoach.
 

T5towbar

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Sep 24, 2008
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Well, AMTRAK works on the North East Corridor. I can't say about anywhere else in the country.
Being from NJ, replacing the Portal Bridge, and building another rail tunnel across the Hudson (the Gateway Tunnel) is two projects that is well needed. That is a MUST, since it is a major problem that delays the whole line. More freight (which can reduce some truck traffic) into NYC via a second tunnel, and passenger trains (which can reduce car traffic) helps greatly. But we still won't get the very high speed trains between BOS and WAS, that's for sure. The way the Corridor was built historically would not allow it. It's not feasible, and you can only get the over 100 mph speed in certain areas. But Acela is a very nice ride between NYC and Washington. (I've taken it many times) If you want to get there slower, you can take the buses (BOLT, the Hound, etc.). If you need to get there faster, that is why the Shuttle services (AA & DL, and now UA with EWR-DCA) are there for. Plus not only AMTRAK gets that money, services like the METRO (in DC); MARC; SEPTA; NJ Transit; the MTA; and the "T" (in MA) gets some money too, to improve commuter service. That's where the real money is made, (along with the freight service) even though AMTRAK owns the trackage.

If you live in the densely populated Corridor, it is a major win. I agree with eolesen on this.
 

eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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Unfortunately, the new Hudson tube design seems to be short sighted -- they won't accommodate anything bigger than what's used by either LIRR, NJT or Amtrak today, which rules out Superliners and most double deck cars aside from the ones specifically ordered for the NYC commuter agencies.

As for freight... it won't happen via the tunnels. FDNY prohibits diesel engines and flammable loads (e.g. petroleum products), and there are no electric freight locomotives left anywhere that are compatible with the NEC's power. Freight will have to continue to go via barge or the long way around to get into New York via Hells Gate.
 
OP
N
Aug 20, 2002
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Unfortunately, the new Hudson tube design seems to be short sighted -- they won't accommodate anything bigger than what's used by either LIRR, NJT or Amtrak today, which rules out Superliners and most double deck cars aside from the ones specifically ordered for the NYC commuter agencies.

As for freight... it won't happen via the tunnels. FDNY prohibits diesel engines and flammable loads (e.g. petroleum products), and there are no electric freight locomotives left anywhere that are compatible with the NEC's power. Freight will have to continue to go via barge or the long way around to get into New York via Hells Gate.

What are YOU now, a Locomotive Engineer, Mr. Know-it-All ??
You wouldn't know the HELL-GATE Bridge, if it Bit U in Your Arse !!!!!!
 

eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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Whatever Bigot. Prove me wrong.

Besides, your average locomotive engineer doesn't know much beyond their district let alone what FDNY's restrictions are on the Hudson tubes, unless they worked for NJT or Amtrak and operated in the tubes.
 

La Li Lu Le Lo

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May 29, 2010
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Not entirely true, La Di Da. I'm a fan of Amtrak as well.

They do serve a role in densely populated corridors, but as far as long-distance interstate travel goes, they are as outdated as a stagecoach.
Oh?

You think they are worth the BILLIONS they cost the tax payers?
 

eolesen

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Jul 23, 2003
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Oh?

You think they are worth the BILLIONS they cost the tax payers?

I don't think a lot of things the Govt does are worth the money spent, but in comparison...

Amtrak gets $6B a year and provides a tangible service people are willing to pay for, and frankly, provide a lot of direct and indirect employment.

Then there's the Dept. of Education who gets over $60B a year, and the Dept. of Labor that gets $14B.

Those two agencies only employ bureaucrats, and what they do at the Federal level is duplicated in each of the 50 states.

Long distance Amtrak is obsolete, and should be allowed to die, but it doesn't. The shorter and medium distance services actually work pretty well, and cover their operating costs via ticket prices. What they don't do very well is generate the cash needed to invest in replacing train equipment or rehabbing bridges and tunnels that were already 50+ years old when Amtrak was created.
 
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