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In the last year, Amtrak set a record for ridership as their trains carried over 30 million passengers for the first time. Paradoxically, more riders means more losses, as a 2009 study found that the company loses money for every passenger it carries.
The GOP has been proposing cuts to Amtrak’s federal subsidies which, unsurprisingly, is being opposed by the Left. ThinkProgress brings us the headline “Amtrak Ridership Hits Record High as GOP Proposes Cutting Its Funding By 60 Percent.” Unmentioned by author Pat Garofalo: Amtrak’s problem with hemorrhaging money.
The company is projecting an operating loss of $507 million for the fiscal year ended in September — even more than its $420 million loss in 2010 — and next year, it expects to lose $616 million. Amtrak… hasn’t had a profitable year since it began operations in 1971.
This would be important information to know when considering the massive subsidies that Congress gives to Amtrak, huh? Just because the Lefties love rail service doesn’t mean that Congress should use taxpayer money to subsidize a service that few Americans actually use. Ridership returning to Amtrak should mean that the company can use increased business to restructure and provide limited, regional service that Americans actually want and could turn a profit, not capitalize on Democrats’ political inclinations to agitate for more handouts. 77% of Americans are against continuation of Amtrak subsidies.
Besides, Amtrak doesn’t need to be agitating for handouts when progressive organizations like ThinkProgress do it for them.