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Picture It: Biden Fails to Make Amtrak Event Less Dull

Joe Biden and John Kerry held an event today at Union Station, announcing that Amtrak will receive $1.3 billion in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand passenger rail capacity. Biden said, "For too long, we haven't made the investments we needed to make Amtrak as safe, as reliable, as secure as it can be. That ends now."


lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I'm kind of in between everyone. I think it would be great to have high-speed trains running between some cities. (Something like the Acela, which runs between Boston and New York as well as D.C. and New York.) The Acela is still fairly expensive, at $99/each way (at least from D.C. to New York), but it's a decent option, especially for business travelers. (I don't think $200 is a ton, but they do have those D.C. to NY buses that are cheaper.) So, I do think it would be good to have regional high speed railway, at least to start. However, I think there are other things that should be priorities first. About the ceremony, I don't think anyway is saying that government's primary (or even secondary) purpose should be to entertain and amuse. But, if it's going to be dull and boring, why bother having a ceremony at all? Why not just hold a press conference?
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Ireland had the highest per capita income in the EU, before this economic collapse, I don't think you can fairly compare it to a third world country.
flutterpie flutterpie 8 years
sorry grandpa let me clarify grandpa, we are one of the largest countries without a comprehensive mass transit system. i am sure there are some countries in africa and others that do not have one.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
As for Amtrak like I said I agree Amtrak has been a drag just as much as anyone else. My point is Amtrak doesn't have to be a drag, it's a drag because it's been left to be a drag. Of course people aren't going to be enthusiastic about riding a slow train vs. an air plane and it's only natural that ridership would slow as we move into the future. So we all agree about what Amtrak (is) and the fact that we've allowed it to be a drag and sap our funds like a leach is because we failed to invest in what would make it a success that's all I'm saying. I actually wouldn't even care if it were sold I just want high speed rail period. I think it's ignorant that we did not invest in it twenty years ago when Japan and Europe were proving their investment worth wild.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
"Hypno, I think you overexagerate how bad the our infrastructure's shape is." Well my friend all I did was restate an official report by the Dept. of Transportation which by the way was also delivered I don't know how many hundreds of times on local news braodcasts after that bridge collaps in MN. That statement had nothing to do with my opinion or exageration it had to do with what is.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Flutter, Ireland has on set of tracks, it runs from Dublin to Galway.
flutterpie flutterpie 8 years
beavis-first of all thats hilarious to type during a political conversation. second of all, the fact is that every other country has a comprehensive train system and we do not. our country bitches and moans about the rate hikes that the airline industry imposes and the overall lack of customer service. they can do this because they do not have anything competing with them. the best way to stimulate the economy is by thinking outside of the box, creating jobs in an area that is lacking, such as public transportation.
beavis667 beavis667 8 years
Hypno, I think you overexagerate how bad the our infrastructure's shape is. It needs maintenance, yes just like anything else. But you are correct that there is a problem with the dilligence of our politicians. We'll disagree as to their priorites until the cows come home, I'm sure. My point is that at least in MN, we have too many hands borrowing from the pool of money dedicated to keeping those roads and bridges up to date. This is no different than the federal government using the social security fund as a big IOU. Regarding AMTRAK, if it were worth having, it could make it on its own. It is that simple. Grandpa is right on. We can't afford to prop up failing enterprise, and AMTRAK has long outlasted its worthiness. I'm guessing you support AMTRAK because of environmentalist values that you hold, and I'm not going to argue with that. I will say that our railways are mathamatically better for shipping cargo/goods in terms of efficiency than they are in shipping people.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
At what point do we as a nation say "We just can not afford it at this time"? We are heaping a debt on our children and grandchildren that almost guarantees to bankrupt us as a nation. No one denies in a perfect world there would be no pain for anyone, no discomfort, no want, no need unmet, no wish unfulfilled. But like any family, there is only so much money, and so much debt we can sustain. That money and that sustainable debt is what should determines our standard of living. It is living beyond our needs that caused this grief in the first place, buying homes that could not be afforded, and living on credit cards, never once thinking about the time it all would become due. After all we have never had to pay up as of yet.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
LOL! You kill me. "It hasn't been self sufficient because people haven't viewed it as a viable option for decades" True but you then have to look at (why) and fix it. Now if you want to make the case for selling Amtrak just because you don't want to deal with it anymore hey that's your right to give up but I'm not giving up because I know as clear as the sky is blue what Amtrak could be.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
That makes no sense. It hasn't been self sufficient because people haven't viewed it as a viable option for decades, not because it hasn't had any funding. Unlike Europe, where you have to stop at every country to cross, you can drive just about anywhere you want faster, and more efficiently than train travel. It's a good option for mass transit around major cities (LA definitely needs one), but high speed cross country travel shouldn't be funded for Amtrack. Incidently, I also think we shouldn't have bailed out the automakers either.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Oh lord UnDave you make me eye my liquer cabinet once too often. Look Amtrak is ours we own it and we havn't been taking care of it for a very long time which made it a drag on our resources and inefficient at best. If politicians back in the day were looking out for our transportation interests rather than corporate interests they would have got on the high speed rail band wagon years ago. Why? Because high speed rail is the only viable way that Amtrak can compete with air travel and be financialy self sufficient by attracting a high ridership with that conveinience. I understand that Amtrak has not lived up to our hopes but that's not Amtraks fault that is the fault of underfunding, indifference and lack of leadership to make our rail system what it should be. With the right leadership and vision there is no reason why we can't have a kick ass state of the art environmentaly friendly high speed rail system across different regions of this country.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
They aren't necessarily looking out for our tax dollars, they trying to get more for themselves. Why should Amtrack be funded at all? Isn't it a for proffit company like most others?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
lol...I was thinking faster than I can type. *the reason Amtrak has not been either of.......
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
UnDave all you did is make my point for me. "The problem with amtrack is that it doesn't have a niche here, with mid to long distance travel anymore. It's not cost effective for the passenger," and that is precisly the point of the funding to give Amtrak a niche and to make it cost effective. The reason Amtrak hasn't been not been either of these two things is because it has consistantly been under funded for decades. It's like buying a track star one shoe and telling them to go break a record well it's not happening until you put up the money for the other shoe. As for the airline industry if you're suggesting for one minute that they're looking out for our tax dollars just because thanks for the hearty belly laugh. The airline industry is looking out for themselves just like any industry would and they will fend off competition at any cost.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"UnDave why do think the airline industry has been lobbying against high speed rail for a couple of decades now?" Why would the Airline Industry want the government to invest money in something that isn't going to draw a profit. How about they take that money and invest it in another industry that is profitable.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
The problem with amtrack is that it doesn't have a niche here, with mid to long distance travel anymore. It's not cost effective for the passenger, especially given that we've bailed them out rpeatedly over the years. I really don't see why anyone who could afford to drive into a city would take the train, or why anyone who could afford to drive acrosse the country wouldn't, expecially given that it's cheaper to drive than it is to take the train.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Has amtrack had a profit since it was founded? How much taxpayer money has gone into amtrack so far? It can make a great friegt hauler from hub to hub, but nothing beyond that in my opinion.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
UnDave why do think the airline industry has been lobbying against high speed rail for a couple of decades now? Because it is a real alternative to flying. You don't have to believe me, believe the airline industies lobbying efforts.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Be it faulty design or age bevis667 the point is that the bridge was deamed unsafe by the national dept. of transportation and because of lack of attention to that fact the bridge was left too it's fate.
flutterpie flutterpie 8 years
im really excited about this...maybe it will finally create some much needed competition for our airline industry
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Many other countries have efficient train systems. This isn't a radical idea. And IMO, government isn't here to entertain us, so I could care less if a presentation is boring. That is a really immature expectation from my perspective.
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
i just took amtrak from seattle to sanfrancisco on vacation with my significant other and son. my s.o. does not like flying, and my 14 month old son was likely to have annoyed a lot of people (thus cause a lot of stress for mom) if we flew. we went first class and still saved money compared with flying. it was comfortable enough but i was surprised how shabby looking and slow the train was compared to the tgv in france. and i was fearful because i hear about amtrak accidents a lot, and don't mind flying. anyways this is great news for me. why should we be second rate to europe for so many things when we dont have to, and us used to be a world leader?! and for all those ppl saying 'trains are a waste of money,' they are actually more economical and much more environmentally friendly than flying.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I looked at prices between where I live, and Wash DC. Amtrack Price - $230/adult Time - 27 hours Airfare - $600/adult Time - 8 hours Drive - $150/adult (gas and toll) Time - 16 hours It's twice as much to fly, but i gain two days on the round trip. I'll spend a little bit more money to be able to visit at my destination longer. If I can't afford to fly, driving is still cheaper, and faster. The only reason to take a train is for nostalgia, and I all out of that at the moment.
stephley stephley 8 years
They don't have to take it across the whole country. They could take it from DC to Chicago, New York to Miami...
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