Amtrak should be privatized

In the interest of full disclosure, I live in North Texas and have not used Amtrak for a long time.  At the same time, it does a good job in moving people back and forth in the very congested Northeast Corridor.  I have several family members who use it, and it works fine for them.

Nevertheless, I've been calling for privatization for a long time.  It makes no sense for the U.S. to have a rail service subsidized by taxpayers.  No sense at all!

I agree with Jeffrey Dorfman:

Amtrak carries about 30 million passengers per year. Amtrak does not provide statistics on how many different individuals this represents. However, given that over 11 million passengers rode on the northeast corridor trains which are most suited to commuting and that some people commute daily or weekly on Amtrak trains, it seems likely that the actual number of distinct people riding Amtrak annually is a much smaller number, more on the order of 5 million people.

This leads to the question of why Americans taxpayers should subsidize a rail service that only somewhere around one or two percent of Americans actually use. 

The clear and obvious answer is that they should not be.

While Democratic leaders are calling for more federal funding, the problem is not a lack of subsidies but instead that Amtrak's leadership is divided between serving its customers and serving the political benefactors who provide it with about $1.4 billion per year.

So let's privatize and see if a private investor picks up the train service.

First, some investor out there will realize that thousands of people, often on business, move back and forth between New York City and Washington, D.C.  Some investor will see the dollar signs and maybe even improve the current service.

Lots of Americans take Amtrak every day.  They use their cell phones and tablets and buy a cup of coffee.  We don't subsidize those activities, so why should we subsidize the train service?

We offer our sympathies to the families of all who died or we injured last week.  At the same time, it's time to privatize and take train service into the 21st century.

P.S. You can hear my show (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter.

In the interest of full disclosure, I live in North Texas and have not used Amtrak for a long time.  At the same time, it does a good job in moving people back and forth in the very congested Northeast Corridor.  I have several family members who use it, and it works fine for them.

Nevertheless, I've been calling for privatization for a long time.  It makes no sense for the U.S. to have a rail service subsidized by taxpayers.  No sense at all!

I agree with Jeffrey Dorfman:

Amtrak carries about 30 million passengers per year. Amtrak does not provide statistics on how many different individuals this represents. However, given that over 11 million passengers rode on the northeast corridor trains which are most suited to commuting and that some people commute daily or weekly on Amtrak trains, it seems likely that the actual number of distinct people riding Amtrak annually is a much smaller number, more on the order of 5 million people.

This leads to the question of why Americans taxpayers should subsidize a rail service that only somewhere around one or two percent of Americans actually use. 

The clear and obvious answer is that they should not be.

While Democratic leaders are calling for more federal funding, the problem is not a lack of subsidies but instead that Amtrak's leadership is divided between serving its customers and serving the political benefactors who provide it with about $1.4 billion per year.

So let's privatize and see if a private investor picks up the train service.

First, some investor out there will realize that thousands of people, often on business, move back and forth between New York City and Washington, D.C.  Some investor will see the dollar signs and maybe even improve the current service.

Lots of Americans take Amtrak every day.  They use their cell phones and tablets and buy a cup of coffee.  We don't subsidize those activities, so why should we subsidize the train service?

We offer our sympathies to the families of all who died or we injured last week.  At the same time, it's time to privatize and take train service into the 21st century.

P.S. You can hear my show (CantoTalk) or follow me on Twitter.