Friday, March 25, 2005

Time for Amtrak to Die

President Bush proposed cutting 100% of the Amtrak subsidy. This is sending the public transit people into a tizzy. Though we all think trains are cool and it's fun to ride one, let's take a look at the numbers.

Michigan subsidizes Amtrak operations to the tune of about $7.1 million per year. The experts estimate that the state would have to kick in an additional $25-$30 million to make up for the lack of a federal subsidy to keep things going.

Michigan's three Amtrak routes carried 600,000 people last year.

Let's do some math. A subsidy means that the government is making up for the difference between what Amtrak receives in revenue from tickets and what it actually costs to run the system.

Let's combine the two subsidies and conservatively say that the total is about $32 million. 32 million divided by 600,000 passengers means that Amtrak is losing about $53 per passenger.

That's right, they're losing $53 per passenger. How can anyone justify that?

It's a wasteful system that eats up tax dollars that could be better spent... as a tax refund!

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