View Single Post
Old 10-11-2010, 03:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
cfg83's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,864

1999 Saturn SW2 - '99 Saturn SW2 Wagon
Team Saturn
90 day: 40.49 mpg (US)
Thanks: 439
Thanked 529 Times in 356 Posts
SVOboy -

I think it has been US public policy to favor aviation over railroads since the end of WWII, partly for defense reasons. A healthy aviation industry can make world-class fighter jets. The Boeing 747 came from a military cargo plane design. It was redesigned as a passenger jet, and the rest is history.

Here's one (biased?) opinion on the manner :

U.S. Transportation Subsidies
Much is made of the $30 billion spent on Amtrak over the last 30 years, but in that same period the federal government spent $1.89 TRILLION on air and highway modes, according to the New York Times and Washington Post.

Since 1946, the federal government has poured billions of dollars into airport development. In 1992, Prof. Stephen Paul Dempsey of the University of Denver estimated that the current replacement value of the U.S. commercial airport system-virtually all of it developed with federal grants and tax-free municipal bonds-at $1 trillion.
U.S. has a Third-World rail transportation system
According to a study by the International Railway Journal, the United States ranks between Bolivia and Turkey in mainline railroad spending per capita at $1.64. The average is $21.85, with a high of $228.29 for Switzerland and a low of $.29 for the Philippines.

Between 1971 and 1994, capital spending for Amtrak has never exceeded $220 million in any year...about the cost of a mile or two of urban freeway. On that, Amtrak is supposed to make the investments to become profitable. -Source: The Amtrak Story, by Frank Wilner

Years ago, transit and intercity railroads were privately operated for-profit enterprises. This changed when all levels of government began subsidizing highway and airport construction, which ultimately led to the demise of all privately run service. The irony is that the government has had to step in to preserve what was left of these services.

What's your EPA MPG? Go Here and find out!
American Solar Energy Society
  Reply With Quote