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Trump Budget Eliminates Amtrak LD trains

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Monday, March 20, 2017 4:27 PM

BaltACD

The so called 'Trump Budget' is a big pile of crap thrown against the wall to see what sticks and what slides down and gets washed into the storm drains of Congress.

 

  + 1 well said

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Posted by schlimm on Monday, March 20, 2017 6:11 PM

BaltACD

The so called 'Trump Budget' is a big pile of crap thrown against the wall to see what sticks and what slides down and gets washed into the storm drains of Congress.

 

+1  Not even a sketch of a budget.  More disinformation to try to fool the public.

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Posted by ACY Tom on Monday, March 20, 2017 9:17 PM

BaltACD

The so called 'Trump Budget' is a big pile of crap thrown against the wall to see what sticks and what slides down and gets washed into the storm drains of Congress.

 

It's kind of sad that it took almost four pages of commentary to finally cut through the bloviation (probably including some of my own comments) and get down to the simple, essential facts. Thanks for the dose of reality, Balt.

Bow 

Tom

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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 7:22 AM

Still, it would not hurt to remind Trump of the role that Amtrak intercity service played on 9 September '01.  I certainly will write the appropriate letter.

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Posted by ROBERT WILLISON on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 5:49 PM

daveklepper

Still, it would not hurt to remind Trump of the role that Amtrak intercity service played on 9 September '01.  I certainly wioll write the appropriate letter.

 

.   + 1

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Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 6:40 PM

daveklepper

Still, it would not hurt to remind Trump of the role that Amtrak intercity service played on 9 September '01.  I certainly wioll write the appropriate letter.

 

+1, Dave.   It surely cannot hurt.

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Posted by guyseattle on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 12:56 AM

Amtraks LD Trains serve communities that don't have an airportc ity commercial service. They are the orthodox the minuscule investment from the federal give. Trump budget is awful like him .

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Posted by Sunnyland on Friday, March 24, 2017 6:19 PM

was not happy to hear this.  One good thing about BO adminstration was they did support trains, allocated money to various states for high speed rail etc. No one ever talks about eliminating money given to keep rebuilding highways or airlines. Amtrak should get the same consideration, not every one drives or flies to a destination, I don't.  Haven't been on a plane since 2003, when I flew back from San Fran after meeting up with a friend who flew out while I rode the Builder and Starlight. No desire to fly now with all the commotion and hassles, ain't been the same since TWA went down.  That was a cool airline, flew with them many times to Europe and other places when it was cheap and safe. 

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Posted by schlimm on Friday, March 24, 2017 7:42 PM

Sunnyland
No one ever talks about eliminating money given to keep rebuilding highways or airlines.

Follow the money trail.  At least for highways, the building and frequent rebuilding is a huge windfall (pork) to the highway lobby, even in the post-earmarks era. Money for Amtrak is not so useful politically.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Sunday, March 26, 2017 6:11 PM

Sunnyland

was not happy to hear this.  One good thing about BO adminstration was they did support trains, allocated money to various states for high speed rail etc. No one ever talks about eliminating money given to keep rebuilding highways or airlines. Amtrak should get the same consideration, not every one drives or flies to a destination, I don't.  Haven't been on a plane since 2003, when I flew back from San Fran after meeting up with a friend who flew out while I rode the Builder and Starlight. No desire to fly now with all the commotion and hassles, ain't been the same since TWA went down.  That was a cool airline, flew with them many times to Europe and other places when it was cheap and safe. 

What did we end up with 8 years later after the Obama administration spent Billions on High Speed Rail?    What are the results and how have they transformed the opinion of the average American on HSR?

Please keep in mind we have a Northeast Corridor facing imminent collapse as there is still no funding for NJ to NY replacement tunnels.........precisely because of lack of investment during the Obama era.

Sad but true that FEC is going to do more to change Americans perceptions of passenger rail than anything Obama did and will probably have a completed near HSR operating before anything Obama funded.    And so far not as much taxpayer money was spent in the case of FEC.    Faster to market, far less money spent, more impact upon the public..........private sector comes through again.

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Posted by schlimm on Sunday, March 26, 2017 8:37 PM

CMStPnP
What did we end up with 8 years later after the Obama administration spent Billions on High Speed Rail?

 In 2009-10, $10.1 billion in federal funding was made available through the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (grants) given to states all over the US that chose to participate.  Some chose to subsequently cancel programs. No more money was appropriated beginning in 2011 once the GOP got control of the House. Much has been spent on projects underway, especially CA, IL, MI and the NEC. Now the CA GOP congressional delegation wants Trump to cancel any pending funding there.  And regardless of how you spin it, Trump is cutting all LD funding for Amtrak in his initial budget, something Obama never did.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, March 26, 2017 8:54 PM

CMStPnP

 

What did we end up with 8 years later after the Obama administration spent Billions on High Speed Rail?    What are the results and how have they transformed the opinion of the average American on HSR?

Please keep in mind we have a Northeast Corridor facing imminent collapse as there is still no funding for NJ to NY replacement tunnels.........precisely because of lack of investment during the Obama era.

Sad but true that FEC is going to do more to change Americans perceptions of passenger rail than anything Obama did and will probably have a completed near HSR operating before anything Obama funded.    And so far not as much taxpayer money was spent in the case of FEC.    Faster to market, far less money spent, more impact upon the public..........private sector comes through again.

 

HSR money was spent on the Lincoln Corridor to install more HrSR segments and more millions was spent on the Wolverine Corridor (remember the money turned back from WI and OH) to purchase the line east of Kalamazoo from NS, to be able to extend that HrSR project.  The NEC suffered more from Super-storm Sandy than lack of investment, and lots of money was put into re-opening the tubes connecting Manhattan, as well as catching up on deferred maintenance on the rest of the NEC.  Much money was spent system wide on Amtrak on a backlog of previous needs.

So far the FEC has not changed my perception of American passenger rail.  At the present, AAF is a south Florida real estate development that happens to be connected by a 79 mph commuter line.  As far as I know, they have not started installing 2nd track north of WPB, and everyone talks like their HSR succes is an established fact.  And yes they have not spent much taxpayer's money, but of course they have not secured that $1 billion FRA loan yet.  Let me know when they reach Orlando.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, March 27, 2017 1:16 AM

schlimm
In 2009-10, $10.1 billion in federal funding was made available through the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (grants) given to states all over the US that chose to participate.  Some chose to subsequently cancel programs. No more money was appropriated beginning in 2011 once the GOP got control of the House. Much has been spent on projects underway, especially CA, IL, MI and the NEC. Now the CA GOP congressional delegation wants Trump to cancel any pending funding there.  And regardless of how you spin it, Trump is cutting all LD funding for Amtrak in his initial budget, something Obama never did.

OK so where is HSR up and running from all that investment?    What HSR project has been completed?     Where is the showcase system that is going to sway public opinion in favor of HSR?     Show me where that large sum of money was not largely squandered via lack of focus by the Feds.

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, March 27, 2017 6:55 AM

CMStPnP

 

 
schlimm
In 2009-10, $10.1 billion in federal funding was made available through the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (grants) given to states all over the US that chose to participate.  Some chose to subsequently cancel programs. No more money was appropriated beginning in 2011 once the GOP got control of the House. Much has been spent on projects underway, especially CA, IL, MI and the NEC. Now the CA GOP congressional delegation wants Trump to cancel any pending funding there.  And regardless of how you spin it, Trump is cutting all LD funding for Amtrak in his initial budget, something Obama never did.

 

OK so where is HSR up and running from all that investment?    What HSR project has been completed?     Where is the showcase system that is going to sway public opinion in favor of HSR?     Show me where that large sum of money was not largely squandered via lack of focus by the Feds.

 

I agree.  I warned that if that $8B in stimulus wasn't spent wisely, with something to show after it was all spent, that it would be the last major money we would see from the Feds for new intercity rail projects.

Eight year later, we almost have 110 mph low density corridor in Illinois, a rail car order where the sample can't pass the structural requirments, and not much else.

Fool me once, etc.

Meanwhile in Florida...a $2B investment will yield a new, 110 mph, medium density corridor complete with new stations, some new 125 mph right of way and a whole set of brand new equipment, all in a few short years. 

Imagine if the same process for getting things done at All Aborad Florida was available for spending Federal investment.

 

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

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Posted by schlimm on Monday, March 27, 2017 7:41 AM

oltmannd
Eight year later, we almost have 110 mph low density corridor in Illinois, a rail car order where the sample can't pass the structural requirments, and not much else.

Odd how the voice of gradualism conveniently has changed his tune.

The $10 bil was just a beginning; after 2010 the GOP House blocked any additional funding.  The railcar order is a fiasco, likely poor engineering choices and poor construction techniques as also seen in the Viewliner II mess. And it is also "interesting" how the Trumpists change the topic away from the new budget ending LD trains to a shop-worn refrain of blaming Obama.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Monday, March 27, 2017 8:33 AM

schlimm
 
oltmannd
Eight year later, we almost have 110 mph low density corridor in Illinois, a rail car order where the sample can't pass the structural requirments, and not much else.

 

Odd how the voice of gradualism conveniently has changed his tune.

 

 

Don Oltmann is a recently retired railroad industry insider (Norfolk Southern) and rail enthusiast.  He posts under a handle, but his identity is known as he links to his blog under his own name.  He has consistently advocated for passenger trains on this Web site while maintaining a big-picture view of what is possible and what is not possible in railroad projects.

His writings taking the point-of-view, his warnings that the 10 or so billion out of the Stimulus directed at passenger trains had to be spent effectively, these were made prior to the 2010 elections.  In that time frame, he warned that passenger train advocates should not count on there being follow-on appropriations of this or even greater magnitude.  I remember him starting threads on this Forum asking, "OK people, how should 'we' spend this money" with the discussion going off in five different directions as to the priorities, which in my view, did not bode well.

That sentence starting with "Odd" is one of the nastier remarks posted here.  Of course there will be no retraction, no apology, not even a clarification "I did not mean it in that spirit and this is what I am trying to say."  And even more certain than the sun rising in the sky every morning, it will be me will have made the nasty remark for calling this out because I will have "twisted" or "smeared" or "misinterpreted" or "gone off on a tangent, again", or whatever the term-of-art-is for I-am-always-right-and-you-are-ever-wrong.

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by schlimm on Monday, March 27, 2017 12:18 PM

Paul Milenkovic
That sentence starting with "Odd" is one of the nastier remarks posted here. 

Odd = different from what is usual or expected.  Since in the past Don has frequently stated that a gradual progression in stages towards higher speed rail passenger service is a sound plan, I was quite surprised that he dissed the CHI-StL corridor.  There is nothing nasty about that use of "odd" in this case. Try using a dictionary before jumping to conclusions.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, March 27, 2017 1:22 PM

schlimm
And it is also "interesting" how the Trumpists change the topic away from the new budget ending LD trains to a shop-worn refrain of blaming Obama.

Never voted for Trump but after seeing all the Liberal crying after the election now feel as though I missed out on a major kick in the pants towards Liberals.    I was responding to a poster that stated things were so much better under Obama.   All I asked is how they were much better?    Amtrak is in the same financial mess it was before Obama took office with major critical infrastructure investment not much addressed.    We now have three states in over their head with financial commitments towards HSR corridors that will probably not be completed anytime soon or without a future Fed bailout of some sort.

And the only reason I am rubbing peoples face in it because so much criticism was leveled at Wisconsin's then Governor for being rational and saying NO.   Which continues to look more and more like a wise decision in avoiding financial calamity at the State budget level as there wasn't any ongoing financial funding to these HSR initiatives.......the funding source disappeared after one lost election.   Total flash in the pan.    Seems to me that any responsible infrastructure spending should be permanently based and funding should be available every year regardless of who is in office at the time.    No effort even attempted in that area or at addressing the current budget deficit with funding existing Transportation Infrastructure........which is sucking money out of the General Fund now in ever greater amounts.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Monday, March 27, 2017 3:17 PM

schlimm
 I was quite surprised that he dissed the CHI-StL corridor.  
 

I, for one, was not surprised at all, because Don Oltmann pointedly didn't "disrespect" the St. Louis Corridor.  What he disrespected was the everthing-but-the-St. Louis Corridor that hasn't gotten "off dead center."

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, March 27, 2017 4:31 PM

schlimm

 

 
oltmannd
Eight year later, we almost have 110 mph low density corridor in Illinois, a rail car order where the sample can't pass the structural requirments, and not much else.

 

Odd how the voice of gradualism conveniently has changed his tune.

The $10 bil was just a beginning; after 2010 the GOP House blocked any additional funding.  The railcar order is a fiasco, likely poor engineering choices and poor construction techniques as also seen in the Viewliner II mess. And it is also "interesting" how the Trumpists change the topic away from the new budget ending LD trains to a shop-worn refrain of blaming Obama.

 

BS.  FEC/AAF is gradualism done right - because the process is so much cleaner.  No layers of consultants writing specs (apparently, badly).  No "USA content" regulation".  No multiple party deals.  FEC, AAF and Brightline are all under the same family tree.

For $8B we should have been able to complete the IL corridor, do Michigan and have new rolling stock in 3 or 4 years.  What's actually happened is stupid and wasteful, and hurts the cause!

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, March 27, 2017 4:32 PM

Paul Milenkovic

 

 
schlimm
 I was quite surprised that he dissed the CHI-StL corridor.  
 

 

 

I, for one, was not surprised at all, because Don Oltmann pointedly didn't "disrespect" the St. Louis Corridor.  What he disrespected was the everthing-but-the-St. Louis Corridor that hasn't gotten "off dead center."

 

I should have been done LONG ago, considering when they started.  Too many cooks...

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, March 27, 2017 4:34 PM

schlimm

 

 
Paul Milenkovic
That sentence starting with "Odd" is one of the nastier remarks posted here. 

 

Odd = different from what is usual or expected.  Since in the past Don has frequently stated that a gradual progression in stages towards higher speed rail passenger service is a sound plan, I was quite surprised that he dissed the CHI-StL corridor.  There is nothing nasty about that use of "odd" in this case. Try using a dictionary before jumping to conclusions.

 

I've been called worse!  Wink

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Posted by A McIntosh on Monday, March 27, 2017 7:51 PM

While the AAF/Brightline is moving along, it has become a victim of government interference in the form of pending legislation singling them out for special treatment courtesy of the treasure coast NIMBYs. It seems private operators are not immune to political shenanigans.

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Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 3:05 PM

oltmannd
For $8B we should have been able to complete the IL corridor, do Michigan and have new rolling stock in 3 or 4 years.  What's actually happened is stupid and wasteful, and hurts the cause!

I doubt if many critics of wasteful government spending are willing to look at the SDI, started in 1983 by President Reagan.  $200 billion and 20 years later (2013), we have a questionable defense against some ICBMs. And some folks want to spend another $800-1000 billion to upgrade.  And one guy wants to construct a wall for $54 billion.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:43 AM

schlimm
 
oltmannd
For $8B we should have been able to complete the IL corridor, do Michigan and have new rolling stock in 3 or 4 years.  What's actually happened is stupid and wasteful, and hurts the cause!

 

I doubt if many critics of wasteful government spending are willing to look at the SDI, started in 1983 by President Reagan.  $200 billion and 20 years later (2013), we have a questionable defense against some ICBMs. And some folks want to spend another $800-1000 billion to upgrade.  And one guy wants to construct a wall for $54 billion.

 

 

Channeling the late Don Adams (a.k.a. Maxwell Smart):  "Aha, the old it's OK for passenger rail projects to waste money because Defense projects waste much, much more, trick!"

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:55 AM

Paul Milenkovic
 
schlimm
 
oltmannd
For $8B we should have been able to complete the IL corridor, do Michigan and have new rolling stock in 3 or 4 years.  What's actually happened is stupid and wasteful, and hurts the cause!

 

I doubt if many critics of wasteful government spending are willing to look at the SDI, started in 1983 by President Reagan.  $200 billion and 20 years later (2013), we have a questionable defense against some ICBMs. And some folks want to spend another $800-1000 billion to upgrade.  And one guy wants to construct a wall for $54 billion.

 

 

 

 

Channeling the late Don Adams (a.k.a. Maxwell Smart):  "Aha, the old it's OK for passenger rail projects to waste money because Defense projects waste much, much more, trick!"

 

I tell you what.  Many of our trading partners who have really, really nice passenger trains have also relied on the U.S. defense umbrella and not had to have spent as much money on that sector.  A defense umbrella that has prevented the larger portion of Germany coming under the Russian Soviet defense umbrella and economic system.  The Russians maybe didn't have to invade with a tank army; the "order of battle" and "balance of power" could have tipped things to that state without Germans or Russians firing a shot and the U.S. not in any position to do anything about it.

The Russians have OK trains, but not nearly as good as the (West) German ICE trains.

I heard something, just, just a little bit, but yeah, I heard something, that President Trump presented Chancelor Merkel with a 300 billion dollar invoice to set this straight.  What's more, we could purchase German ICE trains and Germany could get all of that money recycled into their economy.  I think the 300 billion could get us a really, really great set of trains.  That is, if the money doesn't get spent on say, medical research oriented towards our aging people?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?
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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:25 PM

Paul Milenkovic
Paul Milenkovic
schlimm
oltmannd

I doubt if many critics of wasteful government spending are willing to look at the SDI, started in 1983 by President Reagan.  $200 billion and 20 years later (2013), we have a questionable defense against some ICBMs. And some folks want to spend another $800-1000 billion to upgrade.  And one guy wants to construct a wall for $54 billion.

Channeling the late Don Adams (a.k.a. Maxwell Smart):  "Aha, the old it's OK for passenger rail projects to waste money because Defense projects waste much, much more, trick!"

I tell you what.  Many of our trading partners who have really, really nice passenger trains have also relied on the U.S. defense umbrella and not had to have spent as much money on that sector.  A defense umbrella that has prevented the larger portion of Germany coming under the Russian Soviet defense umbrella and economic system.  The Russians maybe didn't have to invade with a tank army; the "order of battle" and "balance of power" could have tipped things to that state without Germans or Russians firing a shot and the U.S. not in any position to do anything about it.

The Russians have OK trains, but not nearly as good as the (West) German ICE trains.

I heard something, just, just a little bit, but yeah, I heard something, that President Trump presented Chancelor Merkel with a 300 billion dollar invoice to set this straight.  What's more, we could purchase German ICE trains and Germany could get all of that money recycled into their economy.  I think the 300 billion could get us a really, really great set of trains.  That is, if the money doesn't get spent on say, medical research oriented towards our aging people?

Would that become Trumptrak or Trumptrain or Trumpcare?

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:52 PM

Paul Milenkovic
I heard something, just, just a little bit, but yeah, I heard something, that President Trump presented Chancelor Merkel with a 300 billion dollar invoice to set this straight.  What's more, we could purchase German ICE trains and Germany could get all of that money recycled into their economy.  I think the 300 billion could get us a really, really great set of trains.  That is, if the money doesn't get spent on say, medical research oriented towards our aging people?

We have plenty of money outside of DoD to spend domestically on rail.   It is not an issue of not having the money to spend, it's an issue of the Democrats not wanting any cuts whatsoever in entitlement programs.    The issue was before that the Dems locked in 7-10% annual increases in all domestic spending budgets..........which has now been negotiated down to 5%.    We have no freeze though in any budgeted entitlement program so far.     Furthermore the Democrats refuse to look at or even audit entitlement areas where it's pretty clear to most that wasteful spending is taking place (such as University spending that I mentioned earlier).    Instead they hold the DoD budget to standards well above what any entitlement program must adhere to and strive to reduce DoD spending to near zero.

It's going to take a major Financial Crisis to fix or change that attitude among the Democrats.    Perhaps, the American people will smarten up at some point without a financial crisis but I have my doubts there.

As far as revenue raising.   Because of Democratic Party objections, we unlike many other countries that the Dems like to hold up as examples we should aspire to.   We still do not have a soverign wealth fund that would help us in lean budget years not to cut as deep or even help us expand funding for health care.    Despite the success of soveriegn wealth funds in other country's the Dems hold in high esteem, for some reason they feel if the United States tried it, it would unfairly benefit business and the wealthy.    So thats a potentially large revenue source we cannot even tap because of Democratic Party paranoia.

The list goes on and on quite a bit.     We do have the budget and we can raise the money fairly painlessly........if we had the will and political support internally.  It's just not there though.   We keep hearing how entitlement programs are cut to the bone (complete BS) and how the only taxes or revenues left to levy are those against the wealthy (also BS).    Hell, they have never even inflation indexed the gasoline tax and I think the last time it was increased was the mid-1990's.

You want to know why there is no permanent funding source for HSR or transit projects, the Left in this country is a big part of the blame. Failure to compromise, failure to see the bigger picture of a larger or faster growing GDP, etc.

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Posted by Paul of Covington on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:10 PM

   Here we go again.

_____________

   My mind's made up.   Don't confuse me with the facts.

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Posted by SFbrkmn on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 3:31 PM

This time its likely to happen. Congress will go with it. Anyone should be able to figure that out. By no means is this any surprise. There may be some support from within the Senate but it likely won't matter. On the other hand, if something is hashed out, look for some "meeting each other halfway "goop that the odds would kill out some ld routes. Either way, the Amtrak map will be changing in the near future

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