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Money-Losing Passenger Trains?????

Money-Losing Passenger Trains????

By Doug Ohlemeier
MOKSRail Vice President

Reactionary "think" -tanks spread falsehoods and distort the true nature and costs of passenger train service.

Perhaps you have heard reported that long-distance trains such as the eight states in passes through which Sunset Limited, its important run from Florida to California, loses as much as $350 per passenger.

The critics need to go back to math class.

My calculator shows me that Amtrak's yearly $521 million federal subsidy equates to $24 per passenger, given the 23 million passengers that rode Amtrak in 2002

Here's a hint to the geniuses at the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute: divide 521 million by 23 million. That's a long ways off from $350.

Commercial airlines, using the same simple math, lose nearly twice what Amtrak loses - $51 per passenger That's $30 billion 2002 federal handout divided by aviation's 589 million passengers. No, we won't touch the sacred cow of highway funding. The losses there would be astronomical.

Now, if we can get our naive politicians such as Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert to learn a little math and not swallow whole figures released by liars such as the so-called "think-tanks."

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