Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
This letter is in response to one sent by Al Barth on Aug. 2 headlined, “What happens when government runs trains”.
So, you want to keep Amtrak and charge the actual costs of these things? I won’t buy a $16.50 cheeseburger nor will I buy a $3.40 Pepsi. How about you? You want to know what it actually costs to provide Amtrak? If each traveler paid full price for whatever the costs would be to get the train from A to B, you couldn’t afford it! Not many could.
Rep. John Mica (R) of Florida even wants to end the successful northeastern corridor and the successful western corridor. He is not interested in High Speed Rail and stood behind Florida’s governor as he returned their portion of the high speed rail stimulus money even though Florida has huge economic problems and bad unemployment. Conversely, Mica favors spending taxpayer money on a commuter line he supports that would exist in Florida and the southeast of which he would personally gain economically. No conflict of interest there, huh?
Amtrak was formed because the freight railroads no longer wanted to deal with their privatized passenger service. Amtrak had to absorb each and every route, no matter how successful and efficient they were. Yes, they had to absorb losses and the government had to step in and keep Amtrak solvent in order to maintain this much needed method of travel.
No other conventional transportation system in the world is profitable. All are subsidized by their government to some extent. It is the price of having a viable transportation alternative. Without it, America becomes a Third World country with an archaic transportation system. We currently use and the automobile, (of which most folks can hardly afford to buy the fuel) in order to travel on overcrowded highways. People need low-cost transportation. Amtrak is that medium. Pay it in the taxes we pay or pay the inflated costs at the window when you buy your ticket. The choice is yours.
However, comparing buying cheeseburgers and the costs involved providing these goods to travelers while en route on Amtrak is the most ridiculous “red herring” I have ever heard. And you tie that into eliminating High Speed Rail and ending political careers of some very good people?
Why don’t we just end Amtrak and any other government funded entity that has cost over runs such as the military?
Mr. Barth, it is apparent that you have studied and practiced all of your Fox News talking points. Your Tea Party stance, which always throws the “baby out with the bath water”, is the key to our political and economic woes today. The “do nothing” congress is the result of your party of “no”.
In conclusion, High Speed Rail in California is a win/win for all involved. It will create thousands of permanent jobs. It will cause folks to want to create businesses along the route which support the trains and its travelers, thereby creating more jobs in the valley
towns where unemployment is very high. Folks will relocate to these towns where the new terminals will be established to gain employment. Some will relocate to these towns and enjoy a lower cost of housing and living in general. They can still work in the
Bay Area, or Los Angeles, or San Diego or even Sacramento as the corridor is built, and still have a low-cost easy commute. The common denominator here is, people will have jobs, create businesses, spend money, pay taxes, the state coffers will grow and the unemployment rolls will greatly diminish. Granted, this will take some time, but we must start now!
Aug. 10, 2012