Media can’t help noticing that a lot of these stingy Republicans don’t use Amtrak

posted at 3:21 pm on May 13, 2015 by Allahpundit

You red-staters really should be more generous in subsidizing the northeastern professional class, you know.

Amtrak routes span the country but the Boston/New York/D.C. line is where most of the passengers are. If there’s any cohort that can likely afford to pay extra for a train ticket, it’s the finance/media/government pros who use Amtrak to conduct business. As it is, taxpayers nationwide pour money every year into this federal sinkhole hoping that it’ll eventually be able to pay its own way and every year they’re disappointed, with tens of billions of dollars in losses on the service’s ledger to date. John Nolte has a nice list of fun facts about Amtrak that I recommend reading as the babbling about infrastructure grows louder. Number seven is my favorite, although knowing that taxpayers pay roughly half the cost of each passenger’s ticket is enjoyable too as the media grumbles about Republican deadbeats not picking up even more of their monthly transportation expenses.

I like Mollie Hemingway’s take on this. Maybe this morning’s complaints about that horrific derailment have less to do with proper levels of spending on rail and more with appeasing the government volcano god who gets angry when the fiscal sacrifices of his subjects aren’t lavish enough.

The theodicy of federal government requires an explanation that defends the goodness of government control or subsidies into the given sphere. So just as some religious groups might blame a weather event on insufficient fealty to the relevant god, some progressives blame — before the National Transportation Safety Board has even shown up on site to investigate the cause of a crash — insufficient fealty, sacrifice and offerings to the relevant god of federal government.

Yes, it’s annoying how some progressives politicize everything. But if it’s understood as a sort of primitive religious reaction to confusion about holy government’s many failures, it at least helps explain why they do it.

Maybe if we’d doubled Amtrak’s funding the volcano god would have been happy and the conductor would have taken that curve last night at 50 mph instead of the 100+ he was apparently doing. (107 mph to be exact, apparently.) The only way to keep your conscience clear after a calamity, to know for certain in your heart that you bear no responsibility for what happened, is to be able to say that you gave to the volcano whatever it was that the left asked of you. As it is, it seems that we all, collectively, took that curve at 107, my friends.


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Comment pages: 1 2

The whole thing is just a way for some people to get rich and further fleece the people of California and probably the rest of the country too.

Neitherleftorright on May 13, 2015 at 5:49 PM

See recently finished SF Bay Bridge for proof of taxpayer abuse.

antipc on May 13, 2015 at 6:18 PM

But, to repeat, you can hack away at Antrak. As long as I can shutter your picturesque small town post offices.

urban elitist on May 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM

So, you don’t mind if we small-towners taxes are directed away from post offices in your cesspools? You guys can pick up the slack with no problemo…right?

Solaratov on May 13, 2015 at 6:24 PM

Well a case can be made who ever voted against funding is responsible for this.

weedisgood on May 13, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Go back to sleep, dipshitz. You’re still too stoned to talk with grownups.

Solaratov on May 13, 2015 at 6:32 PM

But, to repeat, you can hack away at Antrak. As long as I can shutter your picturesque small town post offices.

urban elitist on May 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM

You’d have a point if NE libs didn’t have access to post offices. There are pretty large “red” swaths of the country that aren’t serviced by Amtrak. I taker it analogies aren’t your strong suit.

ddrintn on May 13, 2015 at 6:51 PM

Well a case can be made who ever voted against funding is responsible for this.

weedisgood on May 13, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Hey AP. You’re really phoning it in lately as far as the trolling goes.

No amount of funding can eliminate operator negligence/malfeasance. Plus, subsidizing over half of the price of a ticket seems like generous funding to me.

yaedon on May 13, 2015 at 7:17 PM

But, to repeat, you can hack away at Antrak [sic]. As long as I can shutter your picturesque small town post offices.

urban elitist on May 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM

How about:

You shutter your local Amtrak station and I’ll shutter mine? That’s pretty fair, right?

Post Office should probably be privatized, but that’s another issue altogether.

yaedon on May 13, 2015 at 7:20 PM

Speaking as the only liberal Northeastern Amtrak rider currently trolling, you have my permission to shut down the 90 percent of Amtrak that nobody actually uses.

urban elitist on May 13, 2015 at 3:44 PM

That would be lovely as long as we also shut down 90 percent of the federal subsidies Amtrak gets.

Deal?

yaedon on May 13, 2015 at 7:26 PM

I once took a look at making a 800 mile round-trip via Amtrak instead of driving. Here is why I didn’t go Amtrak.

1. Amtrak would take at least 3 days to go each way (compared to about 9-10 hours to drive each way).
2. Drive of 50 miles from my house to the Amtrak station.
3. Stops to change trains at two locations along the way, with 12 to 24 hours layover.
4. Nearest Amtrak station to destination is over 100 miles.

If I was retired and had plenty of money and time, then Amtrak might be something I’d try just to experience train travel. But right now having a job, limited time, and limited money to blow on a whim, Amtrak has absolutely no appeal as a travel option.

When I figure in costs for hotels along the way, rental car, parking fees, taxi, tips, etc., even with a heavily subsidized passenger ticket I’d come out ahead to pay for gas and drive, even if gas cost $10 a gallon.

Trains work fine for travel in and around population centers, but around where I live, you either buy a car, ride a bike (potentially suicidal on many of our local roads), or you can walk.

s1im on May 13, 2015 at 7:34 PM

s1im on May 13, 2015 at 7:34 PM

I’m pretty sure what you just said was racist, homophobic, or otherwise bigoted. I’m not sure how, but give me a few minutes to work it out.

…don’t wait up.

yaedon on May 13, 2015 at 7:46 PM

Funding?!? What a joke. ‘Funding’ means offering a service someone will pay (‘fund’) for. Amtrak. Get real.

DemetriusPhalerum on May 13, 2015 at 8:25 PM

I will point out, though, that we urbanites subsidize highway construction, telephone and Internet service and the U.S. Mail for rural Redstaters, so the larger question of “fairness” on infrastructure subsidies is more complex that it first appears.

[urban elitist on May 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM]

Here we go again, where urban apparently is the only person on HA who pays taxes to cover everyone else, so now we’re supposed to be thankful that the government built something we didn’t ask for, wouldn’t want the government to fund, and don’t use.

Thanks for nothing, urban.

The Schaef on May 13, 2015 at 9:19 PM

I will point out, though, that we urbanites subsidize highway construction,

urban elitist on May 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM

Sorry, but Highweay Trust Fund is funded through the Federal gasoline tax, a user fee if you will. If you don’t drive, you pay nothing.

However, Red State drivers (and Blue State drivers, such as myself, for that matter) do subsidize transit service, since approximately 15% of the Highway Trust Fund goes to transit operating assistance (despite the fact that transit caries only about 2% of person trips in the US (and an even smaller percentage of passenger miles).

Dreadnought on May 13, 2015 at 11:51 PM

Speaking as the only liberal Northeastern Amtrak rider currently trolling, you have my permission to shut down the 90 percent of Amtrak that nobody actually uses.

urban elitist on May 13, 2015 at 3:44 PM

Do we have your permission to do away with the taxpayer funding for it as well?

But, to repeat, you can hack away at Antrak. As long as I can shutter your picturesque small town post offices.

urban elitist on May 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM

Deal. Shutter every single post office in the US, that’ll be fine by me.

Well a case can be made who ever voted against funding is responsible for this.

weedisgood on May 13, 2015 at 4:09 PM

Make it, then.

While you’re making your case, I’ll make… popcorn.

GrumpyOldFart on May 14, 2015 at 8:12 AM

Someone (looking Philip Bump Wapo The Fix writer) said it wasn’t “elitist”…

Philip Bump [email protected] 23h23 hours ago

Ride the train from Pennsylvania to Colorado some time and tell me how elitist it is.

SO I did a quick check on how one might get from Pittsburg PA to Denver CO.

$320 – 5 hour flight (when not ordering tickets ahead of time to be consistent).

$500 – 41 hours, with 4+ hours of that on a bus (again, next day travel or as close as possible).

$1,000+ if you’d like a sleeper car so you’re not doing 41 hours in a coach seat.

I guess coach train + bus isn’t elitist but it is much slower and more expensive… and appears to actually be less comfortable as well.

Is that something that should be encouraging me to take a train?
If so, it’s not working.

gekkobear on May 14, 2015 at 1:38 PM

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