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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby BandA » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:26 am

How much would fares need to increase if the federal funding is not provided for the tunnels?
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby electricron » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:16 pm

That budget does not reflect Trump’s infrastructure initiatives, which he proposes in addition to the budget.
Looking at it from another point of view, he wants to take capital projects off budget. So, of course, the budgets for Amtrak, the FRA, and the DOT look smaller.
The danger of taking items off the budget is that the off budget appropriations may not pass through Congress.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:07 pm

Really, Mr. Boston & Albany has a reasonable point. What's wrong with charging the users of a structure specifically for use of such?

It's a tunnel toll, and it is has precedent in the railroad industry. Dig out your New Haven and Pennsylvania timetables for the same period (back from the days when fares were printed within such) and you will note that the through interline rate using Hell Gate Bridge is greater than the two local rates not using such; i.e. transferring between Old Penn and GCT. Interline tickets were once endorsed "via HGB".

If it is what's needed to get the project a movin' then why not?
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby quad50cal » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:08 pm

sullysullinburg wrote:I’m assuming Amtrak will put out some information at some point on the changes it will undergo.

The budget process is far from over.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby deathtopumpkins » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:29 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:What's wrong with charging the users of a structure specifically for use of such?


Such is only equitable when applied across the board.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby EuroStar » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:14 am

The mathematics of Gateway does not work if you try to finance if from user fees. Let's say that 100,000 people cross the Hudson one way by train now. We are including both NJT and Amtrak. If you charge them $1 for the tunnel, you get $200,000 a day because they go through there about twice a day. Being generous, I will give you 300 days in the year (not 365 to account for the weekends when commuter traffic is much much less). That totals $60,000,000 a year. In 30 years you will get $1,800,000,000. That is only $1.8 billion. You cannot wait for the money to pile up and then build Gateway, you need to borrow it in advance and pay it back with interest over those 30 years. Who knows what interest rates are going to be, but it is certainly fair to assume that you cannot borrow more than about half of your 30 year collections, or only $900,000,000. That is too little to build anything. So you need to charge more per person, say $6 one way instead of $1. Then you have a good amount of money to play with, $5.4 billion. Not enough to build the tunnels, but a meaningful amount.

Your problem is that that $6 just doubled the price of a lot of one-way commuter tickets, or at least added a very meaningful increase to them. What will happen is people will move to other modes of transportation. The tolls on the bridges and tunnels are charged only one way and are $15 for cash and $10.50/12.50 for EZ-Pass off-peak/peak. Even now buses are cheaper than the train, wait to see what happens if you add $6 to the price of all train tickets. NJT's ridership will crater. Amtrak's will be mostly OK, but you will still be left with less than half your original 100,000 riders and no way to get your $5.4 billion.

The only way to finance Gateway locally from user fees is to charge the same amount the non-Gateway users. That means everyone who rides the bus, and everyone who drives (twice if you collect the toll one way). In that case you might actually be able to get away with charging only $1 per crossing the Hudson per direction because now you are charging a lot more people (400,000+ per day per direction) and there will not be much transportation mode substitution. Good luck though convincing bus riders and drivers that they need to pay for Gateway -- infrastructure that they will never use themselves.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby sullysullinburg » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:33 am

Reading through the GPO report I came across this. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-115h ... rpt240.pdf If you scroll to page 114 (122 on the pdf page counter), you’ll see that some suggests we’re made to cut costs and reduce subsidiaries, including, elimanting food and beverage losses, lowering labor costs and administration costs and, restructure or discontinue unprofitable lines. At also make the suggest that Amtrak should contract out some of its lines in order to reduce costs. Changes can still be made to this and I’m sure it will be a long time before we see any real changes to services but I do feel there will be a fair bit of changes coming.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby Nasadowsk » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:44 pm

EuroStar wrote:Good luck though convincing bus riders and drivers that they need to pay for Gateway -- infrastructure that they will never use themselves.


Yeah, how about no.

I already pay to prop up a subway I never use, a PATH system I never use, the Port Authority's real estate misadventures, etc. And, the roads and bridges aren't exactly in great shape to begin with.

Of course, maybe rail users around NYC would be more vocal about the quality of service (or lack of!) if they actually had to pay what it costs to run the system. People generally don't complain about stuff that's dirt cheap, and NYC subway fares are pretty low. There's few other systems in the industrialized world where you can go a few dozen miles for less than $3...
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:14 pm

As an upstater, I often end up "paying" for things in NYC. And you know what, I'm OK with that, because the tax revenue NYC generates (mostly due to Wall Street) greatly helps NYS in general.

It's an investment.

Somewhere along the this country went from helping to one another to "help yourself, I've got mine." This administration I think greatly reflects that.
As someone solidly in the middle class, I'd really much prefer us to invest in infrastructure in general than lower my taxes.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby hs3730 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:14 pm

Another upstater here, I agree with Greg. Also, anyone who drives through NYC is using the subway even without riding it; without the subway (and area commuter rail), there would be so many cars and buses (and bus only lanes) that it would be impossible to drive through while the sun is up. The Hudson and east river crossings would likely have mandatory HOV 3+ rules to use at all.

Also, the subway (by itself) generates an operating profit even at the current fare. NYC Transit only requires subsidy because of the bus system, and capital expenses. Think of the NYC Subway like the NEC of the MTA.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:56 pm

Ayup. I wish they'd finish the damn 2nd Ave Subway.... add a few more, extend the 7 to NJ and then expand the Empire Service.
But taxes are evil. Investment is bad. Cutting taxes now, better. Or something like that.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:33 pm

Greg and hs, could you come convince our local DC-MD-VA leaders of that philosophy? Asking for a friend (whose name rhymes with “SchWMATA”.)
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby Greg Moore » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:12 am

mtuandrew wrote:Greg and hs, could you come convince our local DC-MD-VA leaders of that philosophy? Asking for a friend (whose name rhymes with “SchWMATA”.)

Tell me about it. I lived in Falls Church for 4.5 years and watched the politics of all this. DC is another area that could greatly benefit from expanded transit.

Heck, almost any city in the US could.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby BandA » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:18 am

I didn't mean to kick the hornets nest, but there is a possibility that the current administration and/or congress will say no to funding the new tunnels, so then it will fall upon NY/NJ/Amtrak to fund entirely. In that case they will probably delay and hope to get funding later, but that is a very dangerous path.
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Re: Recent Budget and it’s Effects on Amtrak

Postby STrRedWolf » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:06 pm

And then it turns into Baltimore: One subway line, one light rail line, a ton of overcrowded buses on overcrowded streets, and people pissed off that the local transit agency and the government did the wrong thing (or nothing at all) to address it.
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