Amtrak's Big Lie

Amtrak claims to have lost only $29.8 million in 2019 and claims it will turn a profit in 2020. Now lets remove the accounting tricks (aka LIES) and try that again.

Amtrak counts State subsidies as “passenger revenue.” WRONG. It is a government subsidy, extracting from people who, for the most part, will never set foot in an Amtrak railroad car. $234 million of subsidies, not passenger revenues.

That takes Amtrak’s true loss for 2019 to $264 million.

Oh, and they failed to mention $868 million in depreciation in 2019.

That takes Amtrak’s true loss for 2019 to $1.13 billion.

Even Amtrak’s Boston to Washington route is not profitable with depreciation figured in. It is the only part of the Amtrak system that could ever plausibly be made profitable.

The rest of the system, particularly the long haul routes, are massively unprofitable. Other than Boston to Washington, the system will never be profitable and it is not even certain if Boston to Washington could be made profitable.

It is time to withdraw the subsidies that keep this zombie functioning. In return for shutting down the rest of Amtrak immediately, I would be willing to support a phased out subsidy on the Boston to Washington corridor, giving Amtrak a set time period to make that route profitable. If it is not profitable within the allotted time limit, it to would be shut down.

When examining themselves, this is a picture perfect example of government efficiencies. It’s no wonder, the private sector is held to a much higher standard than they hold for themselves. Then…they’d have to tell the truth.

Difference is, Amtrak has losses year after year after year.

Trump . . . not so much.


Why does a public service have to make a profit?


I have used Amtrak in the past and found it to be a good method for travel. We spend 20 billion in subsidizing fossil fuel companies. IMO, we should go after that first.


They don’t but the question being posed is…why do they have to lie about their losses?

The same reason all those private farmers do.


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Umm no, on balance we do not subsidize fossil fuels, you ignore the revenue they bring in side of the equation here.

Amtrak is a joke that only east coast libs find amusing.

depreciation isn an actual loss.
it doesnt effect cash flow which is all that really matters

I just wish they would lower the fares on the Auto Train run from Lorton VA to Sanford FL.

My tax money goes to the fossil fuel industry. That is enough to give me the ability to have an opinion about it.

There doesn’t need to be a revenue equation.

They provide far more tax revenue than we give them, Amtrak, does not.

They are privately-funded companies. We shouldn’t be giving them any tax revenue. Amtrak is a publicly-funded company.

We aren’t giving them anything, in some cases we allow them to keep more of what they earn and at the end of the day they produce many times the revenue for our treasury than they are granted in tax relief. Heck, the government makes more than the industry does on the sale of a gallon of gas.

We give them all those roads and railroads for machines that use gas.

Yeah, its not like Americans wanted cars and roads.

Are you in favor of free college? That is the exact same argue put forth by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

US fossil fuel companies aren’t Americans?

First of all, concerning all the “but everybody else receives subsidies” type comments in this thread.

The author of the author, Cato and myself all oppose ANY and ALL subsidies for ANY reason and would cut all subsidies immediately.

Second, this ignorant sentiment of “why does a public service have to make a profit?” question, which indicates a fundamental ignorance of why profit exists at all and the necessity of profit.

In the absence of government intervention, government subsidy, profit indicates both that there is a sufficient market for the product or service you provide and that you are providing it in an efficient manner.

There is a reason that private railroads shut down their passenger service in the 1960’s and 1970’s and why, unfortunately, Amtrak was organized to step, unnecessarily, into the void. In the world of increasingly efficient jet service and bus service, train service could not compete and the railroads could not make it competitive. The private railroads did the logical and rational thing and shut down their passenger services.

Amtrak has been bleeding cash since day one. An indication, from day one, that they provide a service that is neither wanted or needed by the market, except by a select group, and therefore should be shutdown.

Amtrak survives on subsidies. Subsidies allow that tiny segment that does ride Amtrak to ride at a cheaper rate than if the service was not subsidized. The vast majority of Americans will never set foot on Amtrak. Therefore the tiny minority that does ride Amtrak is being favored over the vast majority that must pay for this boondoggle, but will never ride this boondoggle.

If Amtrak is allowed to fold, the market will step into provide alternatives in the form of increased jet service and bus service and in the Washington to Boston corridor, a number of available public transportation alternatives that DO manage to turn a profit or at least break even.

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