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Trump Budget Eliminates Amtrak LD trains

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Trump Budget Eliminates Amtrak LD trains
Posted by schlimm on Thursday, March 16, 2017 9:33 AM

If passed (unlikely) good bye long distance trains.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:06 AM

Now who would thought that Trump would eliminate ld trains, comes at such s surprise. Lol

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Posted by schlimm on Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:10 AM

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Posted by schlimm on Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:13 AM

For Amtrak, the budget would restructure and reduce federal subsidies to the national intercity passenger railroad to focus on services within regions. It eliminates federal support for long-distance Amtrak services, "which long have been inefficient and incur the vast majority of Amtrak's operating losses," according to the document.

"This would allow Amtrak to focus on better managing its state-supported and Northeast Corridor train services," it states.

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Posted by JPS1 on Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:52 AM

The President’s FY18 Transportation Department budget eliminates funding for Amtrak’s long distance trains.  In doing so it emphasizes using the nation’s limited resources on those parts of the passenger rail system that provide meaningful transportation options within regions.  

The budget also eliminates the Essential Air Service Program, which it notes was implemented more than 40 years ago as a temporary measure.  Other changes include privatization of air traffic control, limits on funding for Federal Transit Administration Capital Investment Programs, and elimination of  the unauthorized TIGER discretionary grant program.  

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Posted by wanswheel on Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:27 AM

Excerpt from A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/budget/fy2018/2018_blueprint.pdf

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people today, and into the future. The Budget request reflects a streamlined DOT that is focused on performing vital Federal safety oversight functions and investing in nationally and regionally significant transportation infrastructure projects. The Budget reduces or eliminates programs that are either inefficient, duplicative of other Federal efforts, or that involve activities that are better delivered by States, localities, or the private sector.

The President’s 2018 Budget requests $16.2 billion for DOT’s discretionary budget, a $2.4 billion or 13 percent decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level.

The President’s 2018 Budget:

Initiates a multi-year reauthorization proposal to shift the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-governmental organization, making the system more efficient and innovative while maintaining safety. This would benefit the flying public and taxpayers overall.

Restructures and reduces Federal subsidies to Amtrak to focus resources on the parts of the passenger rail system that provide meaningful transportation options within regions. The Budget terminates Federal support for Amtrak’s long distance train services, which have long been inefficient and incur the vast majority of Amtrak’s operating losses. This would allow Amtrak to focus on better managing its State-supported and Northeast Corridor train services.

Limits funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program (New Starts) to projects with existing full funding grant agreements only. Future investments in new transit projects would be funded by the localities that use and benefit from these localized projects.

Eliminates funding for the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, which was originally conceived of as a temporary program nearly 40 years ago to provide subsidized commercial air service to rural airports. EAS flights are not full and have high subsidy costs per passenger. Several EAS-eligible communities are relatively close to major airports, and communities that have EAS could be served by other existing modes of transportation. This proposal would result in a discretionary savings of $175 million from the 2017 annualized CR level.

 

Eliminates funding for the unauthorized TIGER discretionary grant program, which awards grants to projects that are generally eligible for funding under existing surface transportation formula programs, saving $499 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. Further, DOT’s Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects grant program, authorized by the FAST Act of 2015, supports larger highway and multimodal freight projects with demonstrable national or regional benefits. This grant program is authorized at an annual average of $900 million through 2020.

 

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:38 AM

If it passes I will be okay with that.

What did the railroads do when steam became inefficient?  That's right, they killed off steam.

Why do we insist on sustaining a money losing system that has a ton of viable alternatives that don't cost the nation money?  (Bus, personal automobile, ride sharing, airlines, etc...)

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Posted by Deggesty on Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:45 AM

DigitalGriffin

If it passes I will be okay with that.

What did the railroads do when steam became inefficient?  That's right, they killed off steam.

Why do we insist on sustaining a money losing system that has a ton of viable alternatives that don't cost the nation money?  (Bus, personal automobile, ride sharing, airlines, etc...)

 

If this part of the budget passes, it will make it impossible for people who cannot fly because of health problems to travel long distances when they have no other way. And, it will make it impossible for people who, for other reasons, do not fly to travel long distances.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:50 AM

Deggesty

If this part of the budget passes, it will make it impossible for people who cannot fly because of health problems to travel long distances when they have o other way. And, it will make it impossible for people who, for other reasons, do not fly to travel long distances. 



Respectfully, you are asking the nation to shoulder a very large portion of the bill for a very small part of the population.  That money could be better spent to serve them.  And a bus is just a viable an alternative.  A bus might not be as comfortable, but it will get you there, and likely for less money.

I have a brother-in-law that is required every day to ride the MARC, Amtrak, and Metro to get to work in Washington DC.  Do you know what MARC and Amtraks arrival "on time" record was last year?  2 out of 200 working days.  He keeps a public blog documenting the failures on a daily basis.  One time the conductor stepped on a live voltage cable between two cars and put him out.  That's how bad things are.  And you know why a lot of these cars are in such bad shape and why the trains arrive late?

1) Union contracts that incentivize employees NOT to arrive on time.
2) Money being diverted on maintenance to pay for money losing operations
3) Not having private road lines and CSX not giving a darn if they get proper rail priority or not.

The system is broken.  But at least we can fix #2 where it's needed.

 

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:00 PM

I am fine with the budget in this area as submitted.     All the long-distance trains save perhaps Auto-Train are a waste of money as they are currently run.   One thing not mentioned in the proposal is that terminating the LD trains will generate a large Multi-Billion dollar labor protection agreement that most Amtrak employees fall under since the start of the Corporation in 1971.    Pretty sure President Trump is unaware of that issue as have been past Presidents.    So labor protection clauses of cutting of LD trains will cost more than savings for at least 3-5 years into the future unless they find a way to transition Amtrak LD employees over to other areas.

Lets not kid ourselves however,  the Budget will not be passed as proposed and President Trump stated that last night and said "this is the opening part of a negotiation".     In fact, I cannot think of a Budget by any President, since I have been breathing air that has been passed as proposed.   Budget first goes to house where they present amendments and vote on it, then it moves to Senate where more amendments are voted on before it passes the Senate.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:10 PM

CMStPnP
e Budget will not be passed as proposed and President Trump stated that last night and said "this is the opening part of a negotiation".     In fact, I cannot think of a Budget by any President, since I have been breathing air that has been passed as proposed.   Budget first goes to house where they present amendments and vote on it, then it moves to Senate where more amendments are voted on before it passes the Senate.



I agree with you.  Those midwest representatives will fight tooth and nail to save those trains.  They always have.  

I am aware of the labor protection clauses, and there is a loop hole that doesn't protect them.  Corporate America loves to use it all the time when they scale back:  "We have a job for you, but you have to move to BumDuck Nowhere.  Otherwise you will be fired."   A lot of employees decide to quit instead of going through the hassle and cost of a move.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:12 PM

DigitalGriffin
Deggesty

If this part of the budget passes, it will make it impossible for people who cannot fly because of health problems to travel long distances when they have o other way. And, it will make it impossible for people who, for other reasons, do not fly to travel long distances.

Respectfully, you are asking the nation to shoulder a very large portion of the bill for a very small part of the population.  That money could be better spent to serve them.  And a bus is just a viable an alternative.  A bus might not be as comfortable, but it will get you there, and likely for less money.

I have a brother-in-law that is required every day to ride the MARC, Amtrak, and Metro to get to work in Washington DC.  Do you know what MARC and Amtraks arrival "on time" record was last year?  2 out of 200 working days.  He keeps a public blog documenting the failures on a daily basis.  One time the conductor stepped on a live voltage cable between two cars and put him out.  That's how bad things are.  And you know why a lot of these cars are in such bad shape and why the trains arrive late?

1) Union contracts that incentivize employees NOT to arrive on time.
2) Money being diverted on maintenance to pay for money losing operations
3) Not having private road lines and CSX not giving a darn if they get proper rail priority or not.

The system is broken.  But at least we can fix #2 where it's needed.

RE #3 - Bovine Excrement to the MAX!  MARC & VRE get all possible priority on CSX.  I KNOW because I gave it to them before I retired - it was my job!

RE #1 there is not incentive to be late - arrive early and you worked less time for the same pay, arrive late you are working longer for the same pay. 

RE #2 If money is being 'diverted' it will continue to be diverted.  Analogy - States sold gambling as providing additional funding for schools - reality, while gambling funds may go to schools, the 'general fund' funds that went to schools have gone elsewhere and schools are still struggling for funding.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Thursday, March 16, 2017 12:57 PM

BaltACD

 

 
DigitalGriffin
Deggesty

If this part of the budget passes, it will make it impossible for people who cannot fly because of health problems to travel long distances when they have o other way. And, it will make it impossible for people who, for other reasons, do not fly to travel long distances.

Respectfully, you are asking the nation to shoulder a very large portion of the bill for a very small part of the population.  That money could be better spent to serve them.  And a bus is just a viable an alternative.  A bus might not be as comfortable, but it will get you there, and likely for less money.

I have a brother-in-law that is required every day to ride the MARC, Amtrak, and Metro to get to work in Washington DC.  Do you know what MARC and Amtraks arrival "on time" record was last year?  2 out of 200 working days.  He keeps a public blog documenting the failures on a daily basis.  One time the conductor stepped on a live voltage cable between two cars and put him out.  That's how bad things are.  And you know why a lot of these cars are in such bad shape and why the trains arrive late?

1) Union contracts that incentivize employees NOT to arrive on time.
2) Money being diverted on maintenance to pay for money losing operations
3) Not having private road lines and CSX not giving a darn if they get proper rail priority or not.

The system is broken.  But at least we can fix #2 where it's needed.

 

RE #3 - Bovine Excrement to the MAX!  MARC & VRE get all possible priority on CSX.  I KNOW because I gave it to them before I retired - it was my job!

RE #1 there is not incentive to be late - arrive early and you worked less time for the same pay, arrive late you are working longer for the same pay. 

RE #2 If money is being 'diverted' it will continue to be diverted.  Analogy - States sold gambling as providing additional funding for schools - reality, while gambling funds may go to schools, the 'general fund' funds that went to schools have gone elsewhere and schools are still struggling for funding.

 



I hate to be an instagator here but 

#1) The number of amtrak delays cited to having to wait on freight trains is well documented.  I'm not saying that dispatch didn't do their job and surrender right of way.  But diverting those trains to sidings take time.  Also CSX had regular breakdowns or their own delays in critical routes which excerbated the problem.

#2) Amtrak and MARC union contracts are NOT worded the same.  In fact if they go over by a certain small amount of time, they don't have to work the second shift and still the same pay due to FRA rules.  There are other rules in there which encourage them NOT to be on time.

#3) Your analogy is flawed because those funds by states are being diverted to other state programs.  Amtrak is supposed to be a self sustaining company. Do you think they are going to divert profits to anywhere else but where it's needed?  Or do you think they are just going to take that money they save and set it on fire when so much of their equipment is outdated and breaking down.

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Posted by A McIntosh on Thursday, March 16, 2017 1:13 PM

I did not notice anything in this article regarding capital funding. Would it be a fair assumption that this would be taken up as part of the infrastructure plan of the President, or something else? 

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Thursday, March 16, 2017 1:20 PM

A McIntosh

I did not notice anything in this article regarding capital funding. Would it be a fair assumption that this would be taken up as part of the infrastructure plan of the President, or something else? 

 

sorry not part of the infrastructure portion of his budget either.

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Posted by conrailman on Thursday, March 16, 2017 1:45 PM

WE need Amtrak in this country Both LD trains and Med trains. What Cutting the highway funding from 45 billion dollars to 40 bilion and giving that 5 Billion dollars to Amtrak?? or airlines 15 billiion dollars to say 10 billion and give that to Amtrak?? We need to think outside of box there.My 2 Cents

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Thursday, March 16, 2017 1:50 PM

conrailman

WE need Amtrak in this country Both LD trains and Med trains. What Cutting the highway funding from 45 billion dollars to 40 bilion and giving that 5 Billion dollars to Amtrak?? or airlines 15 billiion dollars to say 10 billion and give that to Amtrak?? We need to think outside of box there.My 2 Cents

 



And what is your reasoning that we need LD trains?

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Posted by UPENG95 on Thursday, March 16, 2017 2:02 PM

DigitalGriffin

Why do we insist on sustaining a money losing system that has a ton of viable alternatives that don't cost the nation money?  (Bus, personal automobile, ride sharing, airlines, etc...)

Respectfully, you are asking the nation to shoulder a very large portion of the bill for a very small part of the population.

 
What part of the FAA $16 Billion budget isn't paid by the nation?
 
Airline passengers cover just 70 percent of the Federal Aviation Administration’s budget. Aviation subsidies increase if you consider the costs of the Transportation Security Administration.
 
Respectfully your second statement is selfish.  A very large portion of the nation pays taxes for services that they may never need.  I rarely fly but I don't complain about paying into the pool of money for the benefit others.
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Posted by conrailman on Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:09 PM

DigitalGriffin
 
conrailman

WE need Amtrak in this country Both LD trains and Med trains. What Cutting the highway funding from 45 billion dollars to 40 bilion and giving that 5 Billion dollars to Amtrak?? or airlines 15 billiion dollars to say 10 billion and give that to Amtrak?? We need to think outside of box there.My 2 Cents

 

 

 



And what is your reasoning that we need LD trains?

 

 

 

WE give the Highways 45 Billion a year and give Airlines 15 billion a year. We give poor old Amtrak little 1.3 billions dollars. and Now Mr. Trump wants to it 250 Million dollars. Countrys like Russia& China spends 10 to 30 Billions a year on they train system. We needs Amtrak in this Country USA.My 2 Cents

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Posted by ACY Tom on Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:10 PM

Opinions about what is wasteful and what is a wise use of public funds are about as varied as the people who hold those opinions. A few observations:

Every time Trump takes one of those vacations for which he criticized Obama (and said he'd be too busy to take), the local Florida airport shuts down. This causes a great loss of local revenue for employers and employees, and serious inconvenience to travelers. Is this efficient? 

Trump says the highways are in disrepair. The party that has controlled Congress (i.e., the purse strings) for several years has failed to do anything about it. Does Trump expect that Party to do a 180 and suddenly do what it has failed to do in the past? Get real.

The number of commercial intercity bus routes and frequency of service has steadily declined for over a generation, rendering that option less and less viable.

Many small towns have no other practical commercial connection to the outside world. 

Minimum wage workers either can't afford a car, or can't afford a car that they can trust on a long trip. Is it fair for a government, whose professed purpose is to serve the people, to deny them the opportunity to travel?

Those of us who are older know that commercial air travel does not have to be the onerous experience it is today, but the steady trend is to make it even more inhospitable. The only ones who can escape it are the few who can afford their own planes. Since income disparity has steadily increased over the past several years and shows no sign of abating, air travel is becoming an unacceptable nightmare. 

I won't get into the discussion of Federal funds spent on highway and airport construction and maintenance, the costs of air traffic control and highway law enforcement, the loss of tax base and/or productive land when highways and airports are built, etc. because that's been argued to death and nobody can agree.

My conclusion: If the role of Government in a free Society is to serve the needs of the people, then a balanced approach to Transportation issues makes the most sense. This means making it possible and reasonable for there to be free travel by as many modes as possible, by as many routes as possible, to as many destinations as possible. All of it may not be perfectly efficient, but the resultant comprehensive Transportation network will be worth that small sacrifice.  

Tom  

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:25 PM

Highways are much more effective systems at transporting people. So are airlines.

Russia and China are NOT the USA.  And those countries do not have the interstate road system like we do, nor do the citizens have cars like we do.

Rail in Europe is profitable because of how the cities are laid out in Europe.  In the midwest, there are not enough high population cities to jusity the expense.  The cost per passenger can NOT be justified here in the USA.  This is why Amtrak is losing a fortune.  And that's my 2 cents.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:29 PM

Quick question And this will determine how many of you get to yell about how we need to save LD Amtrak...HOW MUCH DOES THE US GOVERNMENT SPEND PER PASSENGER PER MILE ON THOSE MIDWEST ROUTES? If you don't know the answer, you shouldn't be commenting.

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:32 PM

DigitalGriffin
Quick question And this will determine how many of you get to yell about how we need to save LD Amtrak...HOW MUCH DOES THE US GOVERNMENT SPEND PER PASSENGER PER MILE ON THOSE MIDWEST ROUTES? If you don't know the answer, you shouldn't be commenting.

How much passenger income is derived from the Interstate Highway system?

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:36 PM

BaltACD

 

 
DigitalGriffin
Quick question And this will determine how many of you get to yell about how we need to save LD Amtrak...HOW MUCH DOES THE US GOVERNMENT SPEND PER PASSENGER PER MILE ON THOSE MIDWEST ROUTES? If you don't know the answer, you shouldn't be commenting.

 

How much passenger income is derived from the Interstate Highway system?

 



Tons due to tractor trailers carrying cargo.  Tons due to people paying gas tax.   Tons due to roadside restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and shops.

Amtrak is supposed to be a private business remember.  Government isn't supposed to subsidize private business like this....not like this year after year after year.  No other single business in the USA gets subsidized like this.

 

 

The per-ticket subsidy over the past five years has averaged nearly $51. Mica compared that to other forms of transportation: Using 2008 data, he showed that the average per-ticket subsidy to aviation was $4.28, for mass transit was 95 cents, and for intercity commercial bus service 10 cents.


That $51 is the overall overage including the profitable NE corridor.  If you remove the profitable NE corridor and redo that number, it's horrificly bad.  If I remember correctly it exceeded $250.

Next question: Who knows what the current national debt is per US tax payer?

Yeah I know I'm seeming like a cold hard ass here.  I love trains, I really do.  I admit to being a foamer.  But facts are facts and numbers are numbers.  Amtraks LD train service, particularly in the midwest is a waste.  Any real business would shut it down.

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Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

 

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Posted by wanswheel on Thursday, March 16, 2017 4:11 PM

As a Congressman in 2015, Mick Mulvaney voted Yea, defund Amtrak.
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Posted by zugmann on Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:05 PM

DigitalGriffin
Tons due to tractor trailers carrying cargo. Tons due to people paying gas tax. Tons due to roadside restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and shops.

That's not a real answer.

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

And why does the truth seem too hard to be true?

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Posted by CMStPnP on Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:42 PM

ACY
The number of commercial intercity bus routes and frequency of service has steadily declined for over a generation, rendering that option less and less viable.

I would be real curious what the financial stats were on Amtrak Thruway Bus subsidiary.   I just chartered a 56 passenger bus from the Milwaukee Amtrak Depot across the State to Mineral Point, WI for an all day tour and approx 10 hours use of the bus.    They only charged me about $750.    Seems like a lot but looking at the  Thruway Bus between OKC and Newton, KS,   They just need one or two LA bound Sleeping Car Passenger on that Bus..........that would otherwise not ride the train without the bus, and they made up a good portion of their expenses for that one trip.     So I wonder across the Amtrak system how the Thruway Bus is doing financially.    Making or Losing money?

Also, kind of curious why they never extended Auto-Train to carry dead heading truckers (tractor cabs mostly but some trailers).    Seems with the uneven freight flows between NE and Florida, might be a market there.

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Posted by Shrike Arghast on Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:45 PM

DigitalGriffin

Highways are much more effective systems at transporting people. So are airlines.

Russia and China are NOT the USA.  And those countries do not have the interstate road system like we do, nor do the citizens have cars like we do.

Rail in Europe is profitable because of how the cities are laid out in Europe.  In the midwest, there are not enough high population cities to jusity the expense.  The cost per passenger can NOT be justified here in the USA.  This is why Amtrak is losing a fortune.  And that's my 2 cents.

 

A train hater on a train forum. You must be a joy at parties.

After reading this absolutely terrible news today, the last thing I expected was to visit this forum and see some brainwashed right wing mind slave espousing the virtues of eliminating long distance rail travel in the greatest country on earth. Silly me. 

And for the record, I typically vote a straight Republican ticket. But this man has never - nor will he ever - spoken for or represented me. Like the rest of white collar conservatism, I've been relegated to the trash bin of history by our troglodyte base. All hail the reign of the single celled organisms. 

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Posted by Muralist0221 on Thursday, March 16, 2017 5:55 PM

Raise fares on the Northeast Corridor 12% and on LD trains 20%. I doubt that it would effect ridership. The lower income people take Megabus anyway. But to really save government money, sell TSA and Air Flight Control to a private company. Heard Trump is considering this. That would ultimately mean higher air fares, but shouldn't affect ridership. Higher toll fees for the trucking industry would recoup the damage they do to the highways.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Thursday, March 16, 2017 7:42 PM

DigitalGriffin

 

 
conrailman

WE need Amtrak in this country Both LD trains and Med trains. What Cutting the highway funding from 45 billion dollars to 40 bilion and giving that 5 Billion dollars to Amtrak?? or airlines 15 billiion dollars to say 10 billion and give that to Amtrak?? We need to think outside of box there.My 2 Cents

 

 

 



And what is your reasoning that we need LD trains?

 

 

to begin with, Amtrak was designed to fail. It was created to relief freight railroads of their legal responsibility to provide passengers service. With the industry in melt down the railroads bought into Amtrak, then of course Sold  it's rolling stock back for a nice sum. It was nothing more than corporate welfare. 

With  that said Richard Nixon never expected the company to survive more than a few years. Their has never been any kind of long term planning and certainly no kind of long term funding.

Here it is 2017, and the system original diners, rolling along since    the fifties are finally being replaces. The system has been intentionally capital starved so I would never reach any kind of profitability or levels of service.

Amtrak needs to be given a  A capital budget and a time table for delivery of new equipment and infrastructure. This would facilitate a pipe line so rail equipment vendor's can grow and become viable instead of having new companies come and then disappear. It would  also stop the revolving door if management turn over.

Stop blaming  Amtrak and put the blame where it belongs, squarely at the feet of Congress. These guys are probably patting themselves on the back, for the first step in destroying Amtrak.

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