That’s how long taxpayers have been bailing out public rail service in the form of Amtrak. Little Engine That Could? Government’s Role in GM Bears Resemblance to Amtrak Route
Some analysts say the federal government’s effort to prop up the nation’s largest auto manufacturer is eerily similar to a 40-year effort to revive the nation’s ailing railroad system. Billions of taxpayer dollars later, Amtrak still needs the government to survive — and critics say General Motors appears to be headed down the same track.
“I see no hope whatsoever for the situation,” said Wendell Cox, a policy consultant who sat on the government-appointed Amtrak Reform Council a decade ago and draws parallels to the GM intervention today.
Why is Amtrak still a sinkhole for tax dollars?
Analysts said the government’s hope of creating an efficient mass transit service through a partial nationalization of the rail system was stymied by its inability to get tough on unions and rein in labor costs. The same could hold true, they say, as the Obama administration deals with the UAW.
Amtrak has fielded criticism over the years for being guided by officials with little or no transit experience. Today, Obama’s Auto Task Force has a combined experience of zero years in the auto industry.
With Amtrak, the government got too involved in decision-making, leading to inefficiencies in the system that would never be corrected, say analysts. Since its creation in 1970, Amtrak has sucked up $30 billion in taxpayer money, and the money is still flowing. The original aid package from Congress in 1970 was $340 million with an expectation the railroad would make a profit in five years.
Wonder how much the annual appropriation for Obama Motors will be in 2050?