1) The Federal Government Owns and Operates Amtrak
Because train travel is an 18th century invention, by 1971 the passenger train business in America was dying. In its infinite wisdom, the government formed the publicly funded railroad service known as Amtrak.
2) Amtrak Loses Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year
Although a law was passed in 1997 that required Amtrak to become profitable by 2002, since 2009, Amtrak has lost somewhere around a whopping $2 billion.
5) Amtrak Has Already Been Subsidized to the Tune of a Whopping $45 billion
Since the government took it over, Amtrak has sucked up about $45 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies over the last 44 years.
6) Amtrak Is Set to Receive Another $7 Billion Over the Next 5 years
The same media telling you Amtrak is under-funded is not telling you that Amtrak will receive $7 billion in welfare through 2020.
7) Amtrak Is Not Under-Funded, It Is Criminally Mismanaged
Amtrak’s largest expense is labor, salary, and benefits, which cost over $2 billion in 2014. Maintaining fully-staffed trains on infrequently-traveled routes has contributed to high labor costs, but the pay rate of Amtrak’s employees raise its costs substantially. The average onboard employee made $41.19 an hour on Amtrak in 2012, while railroads that contracted out services to private companies paid their employees $7.75 to $13.00 an hour.
Base pay may already be substantial, but regulations and poor oversight allowed employees to pocket $185 million in overtime pay in 2013. The management allowed employee misconduct and wasteful business practices to thrive, even as at the same time it hindered plans to make train stations accessible to the disabled to comply with the Americans with Disability Program.
Amtrak’s did not meet ADA’s goals due to lack of structure and a strategy, according to a 2014 IG report. Management activities took up 46% of the $100 million budget, $6.5 million was spent on unrelated projects, and an undetermined amount was shipped out of state on non-ADA projects.
8) American People Subsidize $60 of Every Amtrak Ticket Sold
When you look at the figures, the math is not difficult:
With a ridership of only 25 million people, that means for every person boarding a train, the American people are paying $60. I did a quick check on Amtrak’s Web site – to travel from New York City to Washington, D.C., will cost the traveler $69. Does it make sense that it costs the person traveling $69 and the American government $60?
10) There Is No Good Reason for The Government To Own Amtrak
Other than misguided nostalgia and the screaming welfare queens in the media, there is no logical or justifiable reason not to give Amtrak away for free to a private business that can make it profitable, and save the taxpayers billions.
The selfish harpies in the mainstream media might lose a few more dollars out of their fat checks by paying full fare, but that sounds like a one-percent problem to those of us in the real world.
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