eNewsletter for October 14, 2013

Re: Amtrak no bargain for the States    The states that fund their own intercity services, including California, will go on getting gouged by Amtrak to the limits of credibility only as long as they continue to treat Amtrak as a sole supplier rather than put these services out to competitive bid.                                                                     States and commuter agencies do this routinely for commuter services, and have all but run Amtrak–always the high cost provider–completely out of that business. Why the states don’t do this for local and regional intercity services, especially in markets like California where there is proportionally little use for connecting traffic to national system trains, is a complete mystery.                                                                                             I’m sure many of your regular readers will recall that California had essentially brought the San Diegan service to a breakeven level of operation, even under Amtrak’s phony cost allocation regime, under the old “403(b)” program, when Amtrak suddenly changed the rules ostensibly to avoid having to pay a share of looming PROFITS from the San Diegans back to Caltrans.                                                                                           Andrew Selden

October 14, 2013

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