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Passenger Trains > Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations)


Date: 02/12/09 06:42
Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations)
Author: floridajoe2001

It looks like Amtrak has come out a winner (1.4B), but we must realize that in the up-coming final vote, the Republicans may once again vote in lock step against this bill. Thus, all could come to naught. Our rosy future might depend on only 3 Republicans--Snow, Collins, and Spector. If these 3 change their minds, we're dead.

Also, to my fellow railfans worried how Amtrak will spend the money, the soon-to-be activated website, Discovery.gov, will let us track just what Amtrak is spending the money on and who gets it, and how many jobs this creates. (at least that's what this website promises).



Date: 02/12/09 06:55
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: Springtx




Date: 02/12/09 07:32
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: ts1457

floridajoe2001 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It looks like Amtrak has come out a winner (1.4B),
> but we must realize that in the up-coming final
> vote, the Republicans may once again vote in lock
> step against this bill. Thus, all could come to
> naught. Our rosy future might depend on only 3
> Republicans--Snow, Collins, and Spector. If these
> 3 change their minds, we're dead.
>
> Also, to my fellow railfans worried how Amtrak
> will spend the money, the soon-to-be activated
> website, Discovery.gov, will let us track just
> what Amtrak is spending the money on and who gets
> it, and how many jobs this creates. (at least
> that's what this website promises).

We're dead if the bill goes through. Money for passenger rail is just the consolation prize.



Date: 02/12/09 07:49
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: pecosvalleychief

Oy, what a paradox! As a hobbyist AND reasoned rail supported I'm glad to see this. On the other hand, spending all this money "hoping" it will stop the economic bleeding scares me to death.



Date: 02/12/09 07:50
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: korotaj

I not certain as to the source (I think it was an article in the NY Times) but the amount of money the Chinese are putting into rail expansion, improvement, high speed, etc. is something on the order of $100 billion! Now that is a stimulus package on the right track so to speak.



Date: 02/12/09 08:49
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: Waybiller

korotaj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I not certain as to the source (I think it was an
> article in the NY Times) but the amount of money
> the Chinese are putting into rail expansion,
> improvement, high speed, etc. is something on the
> order of $100 billion! Now that is a stimulus
> package on the right track so to speak.

700 to 800 Billion annually, according to the Ministry of Rail.



Date: 02/12/09 09:36
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: Macster

Yeah, for a total of 75,000KM of new HSR track. Give or take...



Date: 02/12/09 09:52
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: smitty195

This government spending is out of hand. I can't believe what is happening.



Date: 02/12/09 11:42
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: ATSF3751

If anything, the stimilus as now proposed may in fact be too small. I have heard that a growing number of economists are concerned it may fall short of it's intended goals. Think of it like this; you go into your mechanic and he gives you a choice: I can add a quart of oil to your engine and keep it going for another month, or I can change the oil and keep it going for another year. The point is this, a large as this stimilus looks, it pales in comparison to the size of our economic engine. Failure to inject enought money into this economy at this time may only buy a short term fix. Remember the tax rebates from last year? It was just under $200B and worked to stimulate the economy for about 2 months. Less than 40% of that money was used by consumers for purchases, the balance went to pay of debts, into savings accounts, and under mattresses. Further, a properly executed stimilus with sufficent funding will not only generate spending, but, that very spending will also increase tax revenue.

For this stimilus, spending on projects, such as Amtrak, will have a greater multiplier effect then tax cuts on a dollar for dollar basis. The reason is simple, right now consumers are concerned about their finanical future and are holding back spending. Tax cuts or rebates will only exasperate that problem until they feel more secure. That is why spending, and in sufficently large amouts, needs to be done in order to get things moving again. Only when the economy begins to rebound and consumers start to spend again will tax cuts be effective. For reason, this particular stimilus plan, in my opinion, actually has too much in tax cuts which may have the effect of retarding recovery.

My point is simple, spending on Amtrak and other infrastructure projects will give more "bang for the buck" right now then anything else, but again, only in sufficently large amounts.



Date: 02/12/09 13:08
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: floridajoe2001

My only hope is this Amtrak money survives the Republicans in tact and is signed into law by Monday.

Once Amtrak gets the money, this will blast the hell out of all these supply side/Rush Limbaugh arguments. Call me anything you want (Liberal, maybe), but give Amtrak the money. Three Republicans hold Amtrak's future in their hands. God!, I hope they can hold on.



Date: 02/12/09 14:25
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: n9949y

According to Joshua Michael’s blog, Talking Points Memo, aka TPM, according to a confidential summary of the final stimulus deal that been passed mass transit got some more attention in the end. Amtrak and high-speed rail programs got $9.3 billion, an increase of about $6 billion from the Senate's version of the stimulus.

AS of 2:30 PM PST, "Late Update: N.B. Until legislative language is formally filed on the bill today, there's always the possibility that these numbers could change. What we're bringing you are the freshest details." Now Fox Business News while not exactly a liberal bias source reports: $9.3 billion for investments in rail transportation, including Amtrak, High Speed and Intercity Rail.

A personal note: at age 70, reflecting back, I remember fondly going by long distance trains, beginning in 1944, between Chicago and Oakland, CA (the mole) when my mother, then recently re-married to an Army captain, traveled at least twice roundtrip with her two kids on the Pacific Limited. Later in the late ‘40’s and early ‘50’s I traveled round trip between San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee, 3 Forks, MT., and New Orleans, on the City of San Francisco, The Daylight, The Chief, the Golden State Limited, the Hiawatha, the Olympian Hiawatha, and the Pan American(via C&EI & L&N).

Now with the vicissitudes of aging, and realizing that not in the too far distant future when driving may not be an option, I may look forward to traveling by long distance trains again with the hope that AMTRAK will become a comfortable, pleasant experience.



Date: 02/12/09 18:09
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: zephyr18

floridajoe2001 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My only hope is this Amtrak money survives the
> Republicans in tact and is signed into law by
> Monday.
>
> Once Amtrak gets the money, this will blast the
> hell out of all these supply side/Rush Limbaugh
> arguments. Call me anything you want (Liberal,
> maybe), but give Amtrak the money. Three
> Republicans hold Amtrak's future in their hands.
> God!, I hope they can hold on.
The bill has been reported out of reconciliation. The real chance for anyone to hold it up was the initial Senate bill where Republicans have enough votes (barely) both to filibuster and hold it up via Senate rules requiring a 60 vote majority to approve anything increasing the deficit.

The chances of either house really messing with it at this point is really very slim. Republican or Democrat. A lot of House Demos are really unhappy with the reconciled bill, too, but that ultimately won't stop it. It is VERY late in the game, legislatively. You just don't make major changes in a bill that has passed both houses and has been reported out of reconciliation -- a successful attempt would pretty much sink the bill. Almost everyone in Congress, in both parties, are unhappy with something in the final, reconciled version. Amtrak is a sideshow in this thing. No one is going to torpedo it over Amtrak. If they are going to completely torpedo it, it will be over something else, like the tax cuts or education funding.

Whining about Republicans may be theraputic, but if you understand the legislative process, you know it is unfounded at this point in the bill's life.



Date: 02/13/09 02:15
Re: Amtrak stimulus - thrilling (with some reservations
Author: lwilton

I wonder how we ever managed to build anything in this country, or anyone managed to have a job, in the 200 years before The Government was expected to be the paymaster.

Shame that nobody could figure that out. If they could, maybe it could happen again.

Nah.



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