This story got me once again thinking about the disrespect rail travel gets in some (rightwing, of course) circles. Kill Amtrak, it can’t make a profit! Why should taxpayers subsidize rail travel?!
Well, what I don’t get about this “argument” of profitability is this: Since when did highways (other than tollways) ever make a profit or even one red cent? We heavily subsidize road travel and no one says a thing. The cost of driving doesn’t end at the boundary of your vehicle.
Even air travel is directly and indirectly subsidized.
If all rail service had to make a profit, there would be a number of profitable trains in the Northeast part of the country and that’s about it. There’s nothing wrong with public subsidization for rail. In fact, it’s a pretty efficient means of transportation that should be encouraged.
But back to the story. I think it would be great to have high(er) speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis with a stop here in Springfield. When going to Chicago (downtown, anyway), my preferred method is by train. In the process, I’m keeping one more car off the road, don’t have to worry about parking, and can relax on the trip.