Thursday, April 13, 2006

If You Are Going To Wave A Flag . . .

Please wave one that will do The United States of America some good, won't you? Don't wave the "free market economy" flag at Passenger Rail.

The free market economy isn't always good for passenger rail, and that goes double for fuel, as in doubling the fuel prices since the runup started. And there appears to be no good reason for it.

We heard an economist appearing on one of the morning NewsTalkFluffCrapAdvertiseDrugsandStuffforSeniorcitizens shows. You know, like Good Morning Today The Morning America Show (omitting one The and one Show). Here's the excuse for high fuel prices: (Are you ready?) The oil companies can get these prices in other places in the world, so they are going to try to get them here.

Whatever the traffic will bear.

Many commuter agencies and Amtrak probably locked in fuel prices with contracts that didn't anticipate the huge runup. If diesel fuel goes over $4 on the retail market, just you wait and see if any of them get the chance to lock in prices again. If not, we can anticipate a scramble either to jack up fares high enough to cover it or to raise taxes. Government subsidies probably won't begin to keep up, because of the mush heads in Congress. Or we can expect to see something like butcher shop pricing at the ticket window.

"Today's Prices: Amtrak $1.45/mile NJ Transit $.89 Metrolink $1.38"

Fuel charges or surcharges will change by the day, if not by the hour, if the railroads can't lock in some contracts.

What's good for Passenger Rail is good for America. The United States has a long tradition of subsidizing transportation; from waterways to The National Road, to Union Pacific/Central Pacific, to the national system of air traffic control, to the Interstate Highway System. It has served us well for 230 years, (Yes, Virginia, it will be 230 years on July 4, 2006) and it can serve us well for the next 230 years, if we can just get the mush heads out of Congress.

Wave a flag for what's good for America.

© 2006 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com
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