May 17, 2019 - Opinion - Jim Mathews, Rail Passengers Association -
The May 4 Washington Post editorial “A road to salvation?,” attacking America’s long-distance train service, trotted out the same tired talking points about profits and losses that anti-rail interests have used for decades to club passenger rail. Demanding profits from routes such as the California Zephyr or Southwest Chief misses the point. Should rural highways turn a profit? Should Washington Metro operate on fares alone?
Amtrak is a vital and cost-effective tool of economic development. Passenger trains make money for towns they serve by generating jobs, retail, mobility, tourism and real estate development.
All travel modes are subsidized, from airlines enjoying the world’s safest air-traffic control system courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer to buses and trucks battering a highway system only half paid for by gas taxes.
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