Number 49 - 25 June 2002
Yes, there was a special financial aid program for airlines to compensate for 9-11 service interruption losses, just as there was special assistance for the 9-11 damaged New York subway and just as flood relief is provided to flood victims. Had Amtrak been victimized by 9-11, it would be entitled to disaster aid. The damage that has been suffered by Amtrak has been self imposed, by five years of mismanagement and derelict board oversight.
The bottom line is this: If you don't use the nation's air system you don't pay. If you don't use the nation's highways you don't pay. But if you don't use Amtrak, you pay.
In fact, it would take $1 trillion annually to provide the same level of subsidy per mile to auto users as Amtrak receives. That is more than one-half of the federal budget. It would take $110 billion to subsidize air users at the same rate as Amtrak passengers. Compare this to the less than $50 billion that the nation spends every years, mind you out of user fees, on the nation's highways and air system. The nation deserves a higher standard of discourse.