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InsiderOnline Blog: December 2004

The Cracked Rails

Policy Weblogger has a good post on the privatized British rail industry, which is running much more smoothly than the publicly-owned one did.

In related rail news, AEI's Joseph Vranich has a new book out called "End of the Line." It's an examination of the exorbitant amount of money taxpayers lose on Amtrak every year. Vranich was at a meeting I attended this morning, and noted that the increase in riders since the British system privatized is equal to the entire number of passengers Amtrak serves in a year. And Amtrak has cost taxpayers $27 billion since its inception in 1971.

According to the Townhall book review:

It would be cheaper for the government to buy every Amtrak passenger a discount airline ticket than to continue subsidizing the struggling railroad.

Vranich said every ride on Amtrak is subsidized between $75 and $1,000. So, what's keeping the money flowing despite the ridiculous failure? Vranich blams the combined forces of the railroad labor unions, raliroad supply industry, and the emotional factor-- politicians saying "let's save our trains" tends to play pretty well with a nostalgic public. AEI held a book forum this afternoon for the book.

Posted on 12/01/04 02:39 PM by Mary Katherine Ham

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