Policy Point #4:
Re: Doug Turner Column
Doug Turner's incoherent rantings on intercity rail are the stuff of supermarket tabloids. The fact is that Amtrak has been an abject failure. Fares per passenger mile are higher than the costs of either airlines or intercity buses. That means that if Amtrak's costs were competitive, subsidies would not be needed. It also means that the American taxpayer is subsidizing only Amtrak excessive costs, since the riders are already paying more than the market rate. Further, Amtrak style "high-speed" rail, at a 65 mile per hour average (not 160 miles per hour as in Japan and France) as on Acela between New York and Boston simply cannot compete with airlines. And yes, a growing nation --- and we are growing --- needs expanded highway capacity. Even if we were to increase urban densities five times, the auto would still be dominant, as it is in Europe outside the historic cores beyond which American tourists rarely venture. Turner's breast-beating may have heartened math-illiterate romantics, but added nothing to the debate about intercity passenger rail.
are undertakings of
WENDELL COX CONSULTANCY
P. O. Box 841 - Belleville, IL 62222 USA
Telephone: +1.618.632.8507 - Facsimile: +1.810.821.8134