Good 'Point': help Amtrak grow and thrive
Apr 18, 2013 | 7135 views | 1 1 comments | 110 110 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor:

"Amtrak ridership growth" (Illustrating a Point - March 28th edition) confirms why real long-term solutions are worthwhile.

If only our elected officials would support decisive action, and develop a dedicated capital revenue stream that could include allocating a penny per gallon gasoline tax to Amtrak. These funds could provide a reliable yearly source for financing capital investments to upgrade tracks, signals, stations and maintenance facilities.

Any responsible agency needs the assistance of a long-term dedicated secure revenue stream. Perhaps establish a reasonable minimum fare box recovery rate of 50 percent to justify continued operation of any route.

And give local governments one year to come up with locally generated operating assistance to support service on routes to those communities that can't meet this goal.

In the long run, these simple reforms would take the politics out of intercity passenger service.

With all of this in place, many more routes could survive, and some would grow stronger. How many times have winter storms stranded thousands at airports while Amtrak kept rolling?

The ability of Amtrak to reduce travel time by increasing the speed of the service in high-density corridors can provide consumers with choices other than flying.


Larry Penner

Great Neck

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Bob Watts
April 19, 2013
These are wonderful ideas, Larry Penner!

Simple, easily communicated, turned into bumper stickers if you will.

And sound as policy.

The idea of a reliable, reasonably predictable funding source is are right on the ball.

Needed new NEC infrastructure build-out cannot wait and needs sure capital funding right now.

Inter-city long-distance trains are relied on by many thousands of people in rural America, but must be at least nominally self-supporting operationally and while 50% may be challenging to some areas, states could make up any deficit.

I'd like to post your thoughts to FB. OK?