Quote: Association of AMERICAN RAILROADS Washington, D.C. 1940
What would it cost today? and How many times will it not be on time or have to be transported by other means of transportation due to bad order trackage, or bad order power,or inability to maintain timeliness, or safety sensitive employees in violation due to "Rule G" or EO26. Or crews not rested .
Back in 1940, it probably was terrific riding the rails. Can't compare apples and oranges.
$90 to see America.
In today's dollars that would be around $3600.00.
Sounds reasonable, and according to that pricing model, that would be about the cost of Amtrak if you count the subsidy they receive AND the cost of the fare.
...hmmm, makes sense. :|
Question for Adron Hall:
What would it approximately cost to see America by private or rented car?, by motor home or Greyhound/Grey Line/charter bus? Wouldn't the cost have to include subsidized 4,000,000 (four million) miles of concrete/ashphalt roadway and tax-abated businesses with thousands of square miles of parking lots? Also - the cost of transporting millions of barrels of crude oil from OPEC nations and the refining and transportation costs to the final point of the retail gas stations (located on the subsidized roadways) has to be calculated.
My point was, that the $90 included ALL of that via the railroads of yesteryear. Now we'd pay $3600 bucks if the market was still heavily NOT subsidized as it was in 1940. However it IS heavily subsidized, we'd probably pay AT LEAST $3600 bucks out of pocket to Amtrak AND we'd pay the taxes to maintain the subsidy for Amtrak. That $90 dollars was $90 dollars, the middle and upper middle paid a LOT less in subsidy taxes and such to cover costs in those days, and had almost paid nothing in relative terms for the railroads to build out.
So we're not only in a poor service era w/ Government run Amtrak, we're in a "pay higher prices" through various fees and such for service that is crappier than it was in 1940.
Point being, the price is the same as it was then, except we make a LOT LESS in net terms after inflation in today's dollars.
Point being, the Government should STOP subsidizing the transportation industry and get out of it completely.
...as for cars, a guess off the top of my head would be at about $6-8 per trip mile of total costs, $2-3 per trip mile of Government subsidy overhead...
2400 miles from one coast to another with twisties and turnies and stopovers, 2400 miles back. Gives us about 4800 miles, which gives us a whopping total of about $38,400 to $52,800 dollars in net expenditures for a shore to shore trip in America between out of pocket, taxpayer, and other expenses.
...but like I was saying, I'm merely pointing out that the cost is similar in out of pocket for today's train trip, we just have less money to buy such trips with. The only thing that has saved us is market forces pushing real prices down, that aren't inherently subsidized, otherwise we'd be the poorest nation on earth probably.
Adron Hall: So you want to see the government stop subsidizing transportation? Does that include trucks that get to use public rights-of-way known as highways for taxes and user fees that do not come close to covering their allocable share of the cost of that right-of-way? Does it include the society's subsidies to airlines in the form of airports and air traffic control? The Reason Foundation, Cato Institute mantras are fine, but somehow they do not stand up to any real inquiry from anyone who knows anything about transportation. By the way, in case you and RAILWAYIST hadn't noticed, this is 2009, not 1940. The word is considerably different today than it was then. Back then, by the way, the railroads had the responsibility for operating passenger service and their stockholders absorbed the cost of deficits through cross-subsidization by freight income. Is that consistent with Reason Foundation/Cato Institute Libertarian economic principles? $90 to see the nation is a nice bit of nostalgia, but it is of no consequence in the America of 2009.
James Swidergal: Your points are well-taken, but don't you think you are being a bit indiscriminate in your Rule G comments? Amtrak has enough service problems without having fictional problems piled on.
Adron Hall, where are you? For several weeks now, you have shown up at this blogsite to parrot the Reason Foundation, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute economic ideology, but when challenged you fail to engage. This bit of churlishness by me is intended to comment on another flaw in your earlier response to RAILWAYIST. You comment that $90 for see the U.S.A. (and wasn't that a Dinah Shore line in her song intended to sell Chevrolets?) would be about $3600 today and that it is far more heavily subsidized today than in 1940. Yes, rail passenger service was subsidized in 1940, but not by the government as you seem to suggest. It was subsidized by the stockholders who owned the railroads, and that was by order of the ICC, which regulated railroad freight and passenger rates and thought that cross-subsidization somehow was a good thing. There are subsidies and then there are subsidies. The Libertarian view that anything government does besides protect the nation militarily is wrong argues against public subsidies. It doesn't seem to object nearly so much to private subsidies, which, by the way, include making the contribution of citizens to the various ideologic foundations tax deductible. That, in case you hadn't thought about it, is a subsidy by all citizens to organizations that they very well might choose not to contribute to if they had a choice.