Pensyfan19 wrote: ↑Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:10 am
My point is if private corporations, not necessarily brightline, were to form new routes or even take over existing lines from Amtrak, then Amtrak would redirect funding which would have gone to that line and spend it on other projects while the private corporations would only focus on those lines that they have and have enough funding from the private sector to provide new equipment, increased train frequency, comfortable passenger cars, and better maintained stations.
Amtrak shouldn't really exist as such. Until 1967, Post Office mail contracts made it worthwhile for private railroads to run some passenger trains -- fewer than in the heyday of passenger rail, but more than Amtrak runs today -- and it was the abandonment of rail by the Post Office that year which led to the crisis that resulted in Amtrak's creation, I think.
In Binghamton, NY, where I was living at the time, Erie-Lackawanna ran two daily trains "primarily for mail", but which carried coach passengers: one Hoboken - Buffalo, the other Hoboken - Chicago, plus the Lake Cities, E-L's last train that carried sleepers and a diner. The end of the mail contract left only the Lake Cities, which made its last run 50 years ago this past Monday. No Amtrak train comes within 90 miles of Binghamton today.
Every mode of transportation receives subsidies of some or another sort. Buses use public roads, airliners use public airports and rely on public air traffic control. Had subsidies for passenger rail continued, whether via mail contracts or some other mechanism, there would have been no Amtrak.
The fact that railroads own and maintain their own infrastructure rather than running on public roads has been a handicap;they have to pay property taxes, for instance, that no bus line or airline ever has to pay. If the right tax incentives existed, there'd be a lot more private passenger rail today.