Will Amtrak Make a Comeback?
MoDot wants to make Amtrak more popular:
Weiler says Missouri has about 175,000 Amtrak riders annually. He speculates that could increase to 250,000 if on-time performance and reliability could be improved.
Amtrak’s problems are the inevitable result of the subsidies it receives and its monopoly position. It doesn’t need to attract new passengers, because when it isn’t profitable the state or federal government will bail it out. If the state wants a thriving rail service, it should tell Amtrak to sink or swim.
Still, it could be that trains wouldn’t be used much more even if there were competition. Trains were an important form of transportation in the days before the airplane and when most people didn’t have cars. Fortunately, we don’t have government programs to keep alive other forms of transportation from that era. If we did, MoDot would be worrying about dwindling passenger numbers on Amhorseandbuggy.