Wednesday, June 19, 2002
What to do about Amtrak

The WaPo is reporting (here) that Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is going to outline the administration's plan for Amtrak in a speech tomorrow. It sounds like what they're talking about doing is spinning off the profitable Northeast (Bos-Wash) Corridor operations and threatening to cut off routes unless the states pony up to continue subsidies for the money-losing operations. There are also mentions of "managed competition" (sans details), as well as farming out what are currently union jobs to contractors.

A recent piece, "Amtrak Must Die" (here), in the NYT Magazine detailed Amtrak's problems, from employee (bad) attitude to congressional pork. The author is a self-described rail fan, or "foamer" (as in, "at the mouth" about trains) who has come to the conclusion that something drastic has to be done about Amtrak.