Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Rail Passenger Service Act
In the late 1960s, the end of passenger rail in the United States seemed near. First had come the requests for termination of services; now came the bankruptcy filings. The legendary Pullman Company became insolvent in 1969, followed by the dominant railroad in the Northeastern United States, the Penn Central, in 1970. It now seemed that passenger rail's financial problems might bring down the railroad industry as a whole. Few in government wanted to be held responsible for the extinction of the passenger train, but another solution was necessary.
In 1970, Congress passed and President Richard Nixon signed into law, the Rail Passenger Service Act. Proponents of the bill, led by the National Association of Railroad Passengers(NARP), sought government funding to assure the continuation of passenger trains. They conceived the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC), a hybrid public-private entity that would receive taxpayer funding and assume operation of intercity passenger trains. The original working brand name for NRPC was Railpax, but shortly before the company started operating it was changed to Amtrak.

Nearly everyone involved expected the experiment to be short-lived. The Nixon administration and many Washington insiders viewed the NRPC as a politically expedient way for the President and Congress to give passenger trains the one "last hurrah" demanded by the public. They expected Amtrak to quietly disappear as public interest waned. Proponents also hoped that government intervention would be brief, but their view was that Amtrak would soon support itself. Neither view has yet proved correct. Popular support has allowed Amtrak to continue in operation longer than critics imagined while financial results have made infeasible a return to private operation.
So 30 Billion dollars invested in Amtrak in 1971 was suppose to turn Amtrak around and make it a profitable entity within 3 years, that could then be sold back to the private sector. 38 years later Amtrak is still owned and operated by the US Government. Last year Amtrak lost 1.4 Million dollars.

50 Billion (and more to come) has been invested in GM.. What is the definition of insanity again?

Oh yeah, it's when you exhibit the same behavior over and over again expecting a different result. That would make Obama crazy!

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by David W. Andersen