How Much Is The Subsidy For Amtrak? (Correct answer)

Is Amtrak a public company?

  • Somewhere between being a private and a public company (all of Amtrak‘s preferential shares are owned by the U.S. Government) Amtrak has to provide both a public service and seek to remain profitable as a competitive mode of transport. Furthermore, Amtrak was organized to handle intercity passenger trains in the USA.

How Much Is Amtrak subsidized by the government?

Per passenger mile, Amtrak received 23.6 cents in net federal subsidies–far in excess of the 4.

Is Amtrak subsidized by the US government?

Founded in 1971 as a quasi-public corporation to operate many U.S. passenger rail routes, Amtrak receives a combination of state and federal subsidies but is managed as a for-profit organization.

How much does Amtrak pay host railroads?

Every year Amtrak pays host railroads $142 million for using their tracks and other resources needed to operate Amtrak trains.

Why is Amtrak not profitable?

Anderson, who also formerly served as CEO of Delta Air Lines, says it’s difficult for Amtrak to become profitable because the company has a backlog of debt from investments in infrastructure. Amtrak has between a $30 billion to $40 billion backlog of investments on infrastructure, Anderson says.

Will Amtrak be profitable?

Amtrak has never turned a profit In 2018, Amtrak accounted for 6.4 billion passenger-miles, a measure equal to one passenger traveling one mile. Amtrak, meanwhile, was created in 1971 after Congress passed a bill to take money-losing passenger services off the hands of private railroads.

How is Amtrak funded?

Yes, Amtrak is taxpayer-funded. The company receives annual subsidies to keep it operating. Many of these subsidies are allocation amounts from legislation that seeks to improve transportation throughout the nation.

Does Amtrak lose money?

Amtrak has lost a staggering $800 million, with California’s three routes losing 50-80% of passengers. Service has been cut back substantially.

Is Amtrak a federal job?

No they are not Federal employees Amtrak is a for profit business that receives Federal and State subsidies.

How much does the CEO of Amtrak make?

Flynn will earn a salary of $475,000 and is expected to stay on for at least five years, Mr. Coscia said. “Bill’s expectation is that he will have a longer tenure,” Mr.

Is Amtrak a Class 1 railroad?

Class I railroads are the largest rail carriers in the United States. In addition, the national passenger railroads in the US and Canada —Amtrak and Via Rail— would both qualify as Class I if they were freight carriers.

Does Amtrak own the tracks?

Amtrak operates 44 routes on 21,000 miles of track in 46 states. Amtrak owns the trains, but freight rail companies own about 95 percent of the track. The Government Accountability Office found that the long-distance routes account for 15 percent of Amtrak riders but 80 percent of its financial losses.

Is railroad stock a good investment?

High profitability, a moat, stable businesses, a good return on capital and a focus on rewarding shareholders has pushed railroad stocks to extremely high levels.

Is Amtrak cheaper than flying?

Amtrak tickets tend to be higher than air fares if you book a roomette or bedroom as the price includes meals and private accommodations. However, Amtrak coach seats are often cheaper than coach seats on a plane, especially if you purchase tickets in advance.

Why is Amtrak so bad?

It’s underfunded. Its trains frequently run late because freight railroads under-invest in their tracks. And most of its routes depend on funding from state legislatures, which can be cut on a whim. So that’s the bad news.

How long has Amtrak lost money?

That’s when the federal government stepped in to create what would become known as Amtrak. Here’s the history of America’s passenger railroad, which has managed to lose money in every single one of the 48 years since its inception.


Only the third of history’s most famous love connections – Abelard and Heloise, Romeo and Juliet, Joe Biden and Amtrak — imparts a civics lesson. The other two are just romantic. If President Biden has his way, taxpayers will provide Amtrak with an additional $80 billion in subsidies, bringing the total amount of subsidies provided to the railroad to more than $100 billion in its first 50 years. Despite this, it is a surprisingly efficient system. Not as a railroad, but as an instance of the many different kinds of waste that may be generated by the government when it enters the economic world.

Wishful thinking thrives in Congress, which is why its supporters were successful in convincing Congress that a national passenger railroad would be a for-profit enterprise.

Since fast depleting the funds provided by the railways, Amtrak has received yearly federal subsidies ranging from $1.5 billion to $2 billion (in 2021 dollars).

According to him, federal, state, and municipal subsidies for air and highway travel amount to around a cent per passenger mile on average.

  1. Americans traveled fewer than 20 miles per person on Amtrak that year, despite the fact that they drove an average of 15,000 miles per year, flew 2,100 miles per year, and went 1,100 miles per year by bus.
  2. Amtrak’s proportion of passenger travel in the United States was roughly 0.16 percent in the early 1970s.
  3. Despite this, it is expected to get 26 percent of the transportation funding allocated under Biden’s infrastructure package.
  4. The Rock Island Railroad, however, began postponing maintenance spending in order to boost its chances of merging with another railroad.
  5. The merger plan, as well as the Rock Island, were both rejected.
  6. This is what Amtrak does in its financial statements, according to O’Toole, but “it is never mentioned in its public releases regarding its finances.” With $868 million in depreciation in 2019, the overall loss increased to $1.13 billion, which is 38 times more than the amount first reported.

route, which would get a large portion of Biden’s $80 billion and which Amtrak has repeatedly claimed to be profitable, has a “$38 billion repair backlog.” In addition, Amtrak’s ingenious bookkeeping includes states’ subsidies (in 2020, Amtrak received $342 million in operational subsidies from 17 states, not including $294 million for capital expenditures) as “passenger revenues.” According to O’Toole’s April article, Amtrak’s diesel locomotives emit 167 grams of carbon dioxide every passenger mile, whereas buses emit roughly 60 grams.

  1. “Airlines emit around 174 grams every passenger mile flown, although they were improving at a quicker rate than Amtrak prior to the epidemic.
  2. It is possible that the greater preference for Amtrak, as proposed by Biden, may result in freight rail losing business to trucks, which transport tonnage with far higher carbon emissions than freight trains, hence increasing Amtrak’s environmental impact.
  3. “It now has no trains into Wyoming at all; extending a line to Cheyenne might potentially give it two more votes in the Senate,” says O’Toole.
  4. Trips by four bus operators, with departures around every half hour, may be as little as $20.
  5. Amtrak, on the other hand, is a gift that keeps on giving since it demonstrates the government’s proclivity for repeating its blunders again and time again.

Amtrak will never go away, but the billions of dollars in subsidies from this year’s budget, as well as following billions of dollars in subsidies, will.

How Amtrak Makes Money

It is formally known as The National Railroad Passenger Corporation. Amtrak operates short-distance (less than 750 miles) and long-distance trains connecting more than 500 locations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, according to its official website. It runs more than 300 trains every day across a network of more than 21,400 kilometers of track. Amtrak only owns a small portion of this route, around 623 miles. A number of different “host railways” hold the remaining rails, which are used by Amtrak in exchange for a fee paid to those firms.

Key Takeaways

  • Amtrak is a government-owned corporation. Thus, Amtrak is a for-profit corporation, but the federal government owns 100% of its preferred stock. A total of 16.8 million journeys were taken by Amtrak customers in 2020, generating $2.4 billion in revenue. Amtrak provides train service to more than 500 locations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces, generating $2.4 billion in revenue. That equates to 46,200 journeys every day.

Amtrak’s History

A state-owned corporation, Amtrak was established in 1971 when the federal government intervened to salvage the American rail industry, which had been pushed to the verge of failure by a variety of macroeconomic pressures. By the 1960s, the spread of air travel and interstate roads had boosted rivalry in the civilian transportation market to levels that were unsustainable for train firms to withstand. Because of this, as well as growing labor costs and outmoded regulations that discouraged private development, the United States’ two largest railroad businesses, the Pullman Company and the Penn Central Railroad, were forced to file for bankruptcy protection by 1970.

  1. Even though Amtrak gets substantial subsidies from both the state and federal governments, it is operated as a for-profit corporation.
  2. There is no country in the world that operates a passenger train system without the backing of its citizens.
  3. Because of this, the railroad has never been profitable since it was established over fifty years ago.
  4. Amtrak expects to make $2.4 billion in revenue for the fiscal year 2020.

The Business Model

Amtrak passengers are expected to take 16.8 million journeys in 2020, which is about 46,200 trips per day, while the company employs more than 17,500 employees. According to Amtrak’s annual report, ticket sales from short-distance lines account for the vast majority of the company’s income streams. Amtrak also generates revenue by exploiting its existing infrastructure assets.

Ticket sales

In 2020, ticket sales will account for 64 percent of Amtrak’s total customer income, with short-distance trips accounting for 75 percent of total gross ticket sales. In other words, ticket sales from short-distance routes constitute the lifeblood and backbone of Amtrak’s operations. One of these lines, the Northeast Corridor (NEC), which runs from Washington, D.C., to Boston, is critical to Amtrak’s financial viability since it connects the nation’s capital to the nation’s capital. In 2020, passengers on this line will account for 36% of all Amtrak passengers.

Six of the NEC’s ten busiest stations are located along its length.

This should give you a sense of how much the firm relies on it.

All of Amtrak’s other lines are insignificant when compared to the NEC’s importance.

Riding short distances dropped by 50% in 2020, while riding long distances dropped by 39%. The cost of an Amtrak rail ticket can range anywhere from $6 to $1,000, depending on the route taken.

State and Federal Subsidies

In order to sustain its short-distance lines, Amtrak gets financing from 20 state agencies as well as 17 states (all except the NEC). In 2020, 47 percent of all Amtrak journeys will take place on state-funded lines, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. During the fiscal year 2020, Amtrak received a total of $342 million in state subsidies, accounting for 14 percent of the company’s total income. Furthermore, Amtrak is expected to earn around $2.0 billion in government funds in the year 2020.

These monies are part of the $8.1 billion in funding that was awarded to Amtrak by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015 to be used between 2016 and 2020 for its operations.

Leveraging Infrastructural Assets

In addition to its railroad operations, Amtrak generates $575 million in income through a variety of commercial activities tied to the assets it controls. As well as station structures, platforms, and parking facilities at some of the 526 stations that it services, Amtrak owns 623 miles of NEC rail and a portion of the NEC infrastructure. By charging freight train and commuter train companies to use its track, as well as charging for access to and/or development of its stations, platforms, and parking lots, Amtrak is able to maximize the value of its assets.

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Future Plans

Despite its reliance on state subsidies and inability to generate a profit, Amtrak is expanding and has ambitious ambitions for the future. In the face of a changing economy and climate, more and more Americans are foregoing the use of automobiles and aircraft in favor of more efficient and ecologically conscious forms of transportation. This is a positive development for organizations such as Amtrak. Amtrak must make significant headway toward its primary aim of replacing its aged fleet if it wants to take advantage of this trend.

New Acela Express Trains

Amtrak’s most essential assets are its trains, and the Acela trains are the most important trains in the company’s fleet. Amtrak’s high-speed trains can travel at speeds of up to 150 mph, making them the fastest trains in the Western Hemisphere. Last year, these trains brought in $306 million in income for the company. However, like the majority of Amtrak’s fleet, its Acelas are beginning to show signs of wear. The firm’s fleet of 20 Acelas has been in operation since 2000, when the company was founded.

It is expected that Amtrak’s most popular route between Boston and New York will continue to be served by all of these trains on the NEC line, with the most frequent journeys being between Boston and New York.

Siemens Contract

Amtrak granted a deal for $850 million to Siemens Mobility, a part of the German corporation that develops traffic systems and railway technology, in 2018. The contract is for the construction of 75 new passenger diesel locomotives, known as “Tier 4 locomotives.” These trains have a top speed of 125 mph and are intended to replace older trains that were previously utilized for regional transport.

Many of the trains that will be replaced have been in operation for more than 25 years.

Improving Safety

Amtrak’s public image, which has suffered significantly as a result of the company’s dismal safety record in recent years, is severely harmed by the company’s aging trains. In the last five years alone, there have been eight significant collisions or derailments on the railroad. Amtrak has been implementing what it refers to as the Positive Train Control system in response to these issues (PTC). GPS, radio signals, data centers, and dispatchers work together to keep track of every Amtrak train at all times through the PTC, which is a global communications network.

Extending the Network

Amtrak is attempting to expand its service into some of the fastest-growing regions of the United States, namely the South, Southwest, and Mountain States, among other places. Stations in Virginia and North Carolina have recently been added by the train service. Among other things, Amtrak aims to extend its Northeast Corridor (NEC) deeper into Maine, as well as to stretch its Southwest Chief long-distance route to Colorado.

Key Challenges

Amtrak must keep its pricing as low as possible in order to maintain its competitive advantage against other modes of transportation such as buses, planes, and private automobiles. Even with government assistance, this will not be an easy task. As things are, Amtrak tickets are normally less expensive than airline tickets, but they are still significantly more expensive than bus tickets. For example, taking the Amtrak from Boston to New York will cost you at least $69, yet taking a bus will cost you as little as $28.

Amtrak’s trains are old and, as a result, depreciate fast.

The business’s fuel expenses have climbed in recent years as a result of fluctuating oil prices, and inadequate track coverage and maintenance have decreased Amtrak’s reliability, making it more difficult for the corporation to justify higher pricing to customers.

NEC Repair Backlog

The Northeast Corridor (NEC), Amtrak’s cash cow, is reaching the limits of its capacity. A stunning $42.2 billion will be required to repair and expand the corridor’s infrastructure, which includes enormous tunnels and bridge construction, in addition to normal maintenance, in order to meet the corridor’s urgent needs. If Amtrak is unable to acquire this exorbitant amount of financing, the Northeast Corridor (NEC) will begin to experience more major operating restrictions as the number of passengers using the line rises.

If passenger on the NEC continues to dwindle, Amtrak’s financial flow will suffer as a result.

The proposal proposes for an estimated $550 billion to be spent on modernizing America’s roads, bridges, water infrastructure, resiliency, Internet, and other infrastructures and systems.

Amtrak will get $22 billion in subsidies as a result of the Act, which will be used to reduce the company’s maintenance backlog and for other purposes.

Federal Funding

In April 2021, Amtrak’s CEO, William Flynn, submitted a grant request to Congress for its fiscal year 2022 operating budget, requesting $3.88 billion for base operations and to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the company’s operations, as well as an additional $1.55 billion for necessary infrastructure improvements, for a total of $5.42 billion.

Is Amtrak Cheaper Than Flying?

The cost of an Amtrak ticket is often more than the cost of a plane ticket, depending on the length of the travel and the seats selected. This, on the other hand, applies mostly to tickets that include cabins and food. Coach class on Amtrak is almost always less expensive than coach class on a commercial airline.

Why Is Amtrak Failing?

Amtrak is failing for a lot of reasons, one of which is a lack of sufficient funding. A large number of the railroads on which it operates require maintenance. State legislatures are responsible for funding maintenance, and they frequently underfund or decrease the funds available. As a result of the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, $22 billion will be made available to Amtrak to assist it deal with its maintenance backlog, which should benefit the corporation.

Is Amtrak Taxpayer-Funded?

Amtrak is, in fact, supported by taxpayers. The firm is supported by the government on a yearly basis to ensure that it can continue to operate. Approximately one-third of these subsidies are allocation amounts from legislation aimed at improving transportation infrastructure across the country.

The Bottom Line

Amtrak earns the majority of its revenue from ticket sales, which are generally for short-distance journeys, with the majority of those coming from only one route, the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak also receives considerable financial assistance from the federal government to keep it operating. Several hurdles await the corporation; however, the recently approved Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act should help to alleviate some of these difficulties.

Eliminate Funding for Amtrak and the Essential Air Service Program

The federal government provides different forms of assistance for interstate travel. In 2017, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (often known as Amtrak) received approximately $1.5 billion in appropriations and $1.9 billion in 2018 to fund intercity passenger train services, respectively. The number for 2018 includes $650 million in grants for the Northeast Corridor and debt repayment, as well as around $1.3 billion in subsidies for Amtrak’s national network, which is operated by the railroad.

Another type of federal subsidy for intercity travel is the Essential Air Service (EAS) program, which received $150 million in discretionary budget authority and $122 million in mandatory budget authority in 2017.

airspace but take off and land in other countries, and the former came from overflight fees levied on aircraft that fly through U.S.

At the end of September 2018, the EAS program, which was established by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 in order to maintain airline service in communities that had previously been served by federally mandated service, was providing subsidies to 63 communities in Alaska, two in Hawaii, one on the island of Punta Cana, and 108 communities throughout the continental United States (CONUS).

According to EAS statistics available for those areas in the CONUS, the government subsidy per airline passenger in 2017 ranged from $14 in Joplin, Missouri, and Cody, Wyoming, to $536 in Alliance, Nebraska, according to the data available for those communities.


This option would result in the elimination of financing for Amtrak as well as the termination of the EAS program.

Effects on the Budget

According to the Congressional Budget Office, if federal appropriations are decreased in proportion, this alternative would result in savings of approximately $21 billion in discretionary expenditure from 2020 to 2028, assuming that federal appropriations are lowered in proportion. The savings from cutting funding for Amtrak total about $20 billion, with approximately $2 billion in savings from eliminating the discretionary component of the EAS program accounting for the remaining $1.5 billion in savings (identified separately in the budget as Payments to Air Carriers).

Through 2028, the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline predictions of budget power for Amtrak and the discretionary component of EAS are based on appropriations established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which have been adjusted for predicted inflation.

According to the CBO, income from the fees will mostly reflect its forecasts of economic production (gross domestic product, or GDP) and inflation in consumer prices over the next decade.

For example, the Federal Railroad Administration is required to make quarterly payments to Amtrak, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) anticipates that virtually all reductions in budget authority in a given year will result in outlay savings in the same year as the reduction in budget authority.

Those rates represent the time necessary by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to choose and contract with airlines to offer subsidized air services, to commit money, to receive bills for services rendered, and to evaluate and approve the invoices in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

However, those baseline projections could differ significantly from the amounts that Congress might appropriate for the programs even if lawmakers did not change anything else about the programs.

The projected revenues from overflight fees are the most uncertain part of this option; actual revenues, and thus the savings from not using those revenues for the EAS program, could differ from the CBO’s baseline in a number of ways, including because GDP or inflation diverged from the agency’s current baseline projections, or because those factors are imperfect proxies for miles of overflight travel and changes in the costs of air traffic control.

The Congress could slash expenditure on Amtrak and the EAS program in a variety of ways that were less drastic than withdrawing financing for the programs outright.

Setting the minimum distance at 1,000, 1,500, or 2,000 miles would lower the number of qualifying lines from 15 to 11, 6, or 4 depending on the distance set as the starting point.

By increasing the minimum distance between a community and the nearest medium or large hub airport, lowering the maximum subsidy per passenger, or reducing or eliminating the Department of Transportation’s authority to grant waivers of the existing requirements, eligibility for subsidized air travel service in the EAS program could be tightened (discussed below).

Other Effects

When the Amtrak and EAS subsidies were initially granted in 1970, it was believed that they would only be temporary solutions. This is one argument in support of this choice. They were meant to assist Amtrak in becoming self-sufficient as well as towns and airlines as they adjusted to the deregulation of the transportation industry. According to a second argument in favor of the alternative, both subsidies help to fund transportation services that are valuable to certain groups of users but are not commercially feasible and give little or no benefit to the wider public.

States are already required to provide support for Amtrak service on rail lines less than 750 miles in length in amounts determined by a cost-allocation method developed by Amtrak in consultation with the states to ensure that those lines cover their operating costs.

The federal government has been urged to expand that rule to Amtrak lines that are more than 750 miles in length, according to some experts.

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For communities not participating in the EAS program, a variety of strategies have been employed to develop or maintain air service, including guaranteeing airlines a minimum level of revenues (in some cases, using federal grants to back the guarantees), waiving fees, and taking over ground-handling operations.

Because getting an agreement among all of the impacted states on how to replace the federal subsidies might be difficult, Amtrak’s vast train lines could be particularly susceptible.

Another argument in favor of maintaining federal assistance for Amtrak is that the level of such support should be evaluated in light of federal subsidies for other forms of transportation such as air travel.

Those advantages might be forfeited if the following choice is chosen: The loss of federal financing for Amtrak might result in significant cutbacks in the company’s operations and capital expenditures, which could have a negative impact on the long-term survival of passenger train transportation in the United States.

These four towns and cities were deemed ineligible for EAS because they had high average subsidy costs per passenger in 2015 or 2016.

In addition, a fifth town has voluntarily terminated its participation in the program by purchasing a buyout.

After taking into account the average 2017 subsidies of the remaining 21 localities, nine fell between $201 and $250, while another six fell between $100 and $500 below their 2015 levels.


Photo courtesy of Brendan McDermid/Reuters There are $66 billion in new subsidies for Amtrak and passenger rail in the Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure package, but no one should expect this freight train of cash to solve the government railroad’s issues. It has been 50 years since the United States Congress nationalized passenger rail, and the results demonstrate why the government should never take over a privately owned enterprise. Amtrak’s economic model is set by Congress, which includes everything from where and when trains run to whether and when employees can be let off.

  • Despite the fact that Amtrak can meet its operating costs along the Northeast Corridor, the company can not earn enough revenue to maintain and, in some cases, improve its trains.
  • During his time as a Senator, Mr.
  • Riding the Acela may be a nice experience provided you aren’t concerned about getting someplace on time or attempting to work on a shaky WiFi connection while on the train.
  • While the Northeast Corridor of Amtrak will get $30 billion to fix its lines and enhance service, this is something we hear every decade or so.
  • Congestion on the highways linking major cities in the Sun Belt is becoming worse as the region’s population grows, and boosting rail service might be less expensive than adding automobile lanes to the roads.
  • However, here’s the catch: The law also invests $16 billion on Amtrak’s national network, which is currently experiencing financial difficulties.
  • They include a large number of travelers who are nostalgic for the days of sleeper trains, which were glamorized in classic cinema.

But the Senate plan would prevent Amtrak from modifying or eliminating service on long-distance lines, no matter how few passengers they draw or how much money they lose as a result of the changes.

Even worse, the Senate bill would require Amtrak to employ at least one ticket agent at each station where there were at least an average of 40 passengers per day in 2017.

Passengers may now purchase tickets on Amtrak’s website or at ticket booths at train stations.

This is how the federal government does its business.

As is always the case, Amtrak’s most important clients are members of Congress.

Watch as the Democrats and Republicans engage in a deadly dance over Biden’s $4 trillion proposal.

Images courtesy of De Agostini/Getty Images Dow JonesCompany, Inc. retains ownership of the copyright and reserves all rights. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8 Appeared in the print edition of the August 7, 2021, issue.

Amtrak Is Ready to Grow. Will it Finally Get the Subsidy It Deserves?

Using the next infrastructure bill, Amtrak hopes to de-prioritize profitability and devote its resources to radically expanding its service. This will allow intercity rail to reclaim its rightful place as an essential component of our public transportation ecosystem, rather than a quasi-private afterthought. The absence of rail service in some rapidly growing American cities, according to Amtrak board chairman Tony Coscia, has been “just plain wrong” for months. Amtrak’s top executives have been signaling a new direction for the corporation responsible for the vast majority of long- and medium-distance passenger rail service in the United States.

In his remarks, he pointed out that “our highways and interstates, which road boosters used to love to boast were ‘user financed,'” require billions of dollars in subsidies each year.

At the Rail Passenger’s Association’s September webinar, Senior State Director Ray Lang presented an ambitious expansion plan that put that fiery rhetoric into action with an actual route map.

That bill was defeated in the Senate, which was then controlled by Republicans.

Photograph courtesy of the Rail Passenger’s Association According to reports, the newly appointed CEO of Amtrak, Bill Flynn, immediately wrote a letter to the newly elected members of Congress, urging them to establish a long-overdue Intercity Passenger Rail Trust Fund, among other reforms, with the goal of expanding the route map aggressively.

There has been a concerted attempt to discredit rail as a viable passenger mode in this nation for decades, according to Jim Matthews, president and CEO of the nonprofit Rail Passenger’s Association.

As the years pass, you acquire a type of whipped dog syndrome, where you don’t want to grow and don’t want to put your hand up and beg for anything more for fear of being attacked by someone.” In 1994, the firm itself slashed several of its hallmark routes to the bone in an effort to improve its financial situation, only to see ridership and net revenues plummet even more as a result of the cutbacks.

  1. Many services were ultimately reinstated, but not all of them were — and as time went on, even Congress became aware of the glaring disparities.
  2. Matthews expressed himself.
  3. Michael W.
  4. According to Matthews, Republican support for Amtrak has progressively risen over the previous four years, particularly as the mode has become increasingly important to red state economies.

However, with COVID relief on the way and rail enthusiast Biden in the White House — not to mention Amtrak’s recent willingness to acknowledge its role as a provider of a social good — the stars may finally be aligning to provide the United States with the world-class passenger rail system it deserves.

It has always had an uphill struggle with those who argue, “Well, the airlines can earn money carrying me from Chicago to Los Angeles in four hours, but taking me on the train would take me three days and it will cost government money.” This is not about that, people,” Matthews clarified.

A grandma who resides in Oklahoma City, but who is unable to travel because she requires supplemental oxygen, will be able to see her grandchildren in Fort Worth due of this arrangement.

After all, if you tried to get on an airplane today to travel from Dodge City to La Junta, you would have discovered that you were out of luck.” If successful, Amtrak’s ambitions to increase its corridor service may make significant contributions to the realization of that goal – and not only in the “queen of the cow towns.” Some of the most significant investments would provide long-distance transportation to major population centers that do not currently have many alternatives to high-polluting vehicles and aircraft for long-distance travel, such as rapidly growing megalopoli like Phoenix and Nashville, among others.

In Matthews’ opinion, even modest increases in train frequency on existing routes — for example, running a few more trains per day between Duluth and St.

— could be game changers in terms of connecting residents to opportunity and ensuring the financial viability of Amtrak in the years to come.

It all starts with big changes in Washington that consider Amtrak as a social benefit that deserves government subsidies, just like every other mode of transportation, according to proponents.

2019 Passenger Costs and Subsidies – The Antiplanner

In addition, the Federal Highway Administration has made available nearly all highway finance spreadsheets related to the 2019 Highway Statistics, which means we now have nearly all of the data we require to calculate transportation costs subsidies for airline passengers as well as highway, Amtrak, and transit passengers. Two airlines’ figures for 2018 have just been released; nevertheless, as airline figures tend to remain stable over time, they should provide a reasonable projection for 2019.

  1. In addition, highway haulage received an average of 0.8 cents per ton-mile in government subsidies.
  2. Incredible as it seems, air travel is by far the least expensive means of transportation, with passengers paying just 13.8 cents per passenger-mile, whereas Amtrak costs are on average 38 cents and public transportation fares are on average 30 cents per passenger-mile.
  3. AviationThe Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) presents average air prices per passenger-mile in Table 3-20 of the National Transportation Statistics (National Transportation Statistics).
  4. Amtrak tickets are also included in the chart, but the BTS unintentionally adopts Amtrak’s assertion that state subsidies to Amtrak constitute “passenger revenues,” which is a position that I strongly disagree with.
  5. As seen in Table 2-32, the federal, state, and local governments earned $38.5 billion in airline ticket fees and other comparable income, while spending $46.5 billion, resulting in a net subsidy of $8.0 billion, according to Table 2-35.
  6. It should be noted that foreign travel is not included, which would result in a reduction in the average subsidy.
  7. All of these figures may be found in the Highway Statistics table HF-10, which is available online.

Subventions from the federal government: When Congress reauthorized federal highway and transit monies for the last time, Table FE-210 states that it provided $50.9 billion in general funds to the roadway account of the Highway Trust Fund (plus $19.2 billion to the transit account) for the Highway Trust Fund.

  1. According to Table FE-10, the federal government collected around $43.5 billion in highway excise taxes in 2011.
  2. $5.5 billion of this was allocated directly to mass transit, with the remaining $1.3 billion going to the Land Water Conservation Fund and other non-transportation activities.
  3. Subventions from the state: According to Table SF-1, the states spent $39.7 billion in general revenues on roads in fiscal year 2019.
  4. Subventions on a local level: Local governments spent $55.1 billion in general funds on roads in 2019, according to the data in Table LGF-1.

According to the Table LDF, a tiny portion of this was offset by $875 million in diverted funds to transit and other non-transportation activities from municipal tolls.

2019 Highway Subsidies in Billions of Dollars
General Funds Diversions Subsidies
Federal 10.2 8.4 1.8
State 39.7 25.0 14.7
Local 55.1 0.9 54.2
Total 104.9 34.3 70.7

Total highway subsidies: As seen in the chart above, net highway subsidies amounted to little more than $70 billion for the year 2019. Costs to the user: In its National Income and Product Accounts, the Bureau of Economic Analysis calculates how much the average American spends on transportation, housing, and other activities, among other things. Although you cannot connect directly to individual tables, you can do so by selecting “Section 2” and then “table 2.5.5.” There are three rows in that table: row 54 indicates the amount of money Americans spent on automobiles; row 57 shows the amount of money they spent on operating those automobiles; and row 116 shows the amount of money they spent on insurance.

  1. Use of the highway: 5.6 trillion passenger miles were transported on roadways in 2019, according to Table VM-1.
  2. It also counts bus kilometers, although, as I’ve already stated, I feel the bus numbers are incorrect in this case.
  3. With user charges totaling $1.23 trillion, that equates to 25.0 cents every passenger-mile traveled.
  4. In 2018, trucks handled slightly more than 2.0 trillion ton-miles of freight, according to the National Transportation Statistics, while shippers paid an average of slightly less than 19 cents per ton-mile, according to the National Transportation Statistics.
  5. As a result, I allocate 76 percent of the $70.7 billion in highway subsidies to passengers, which comes out to slightly less than 1.1 cents per passenger-mile based on 4.9 trillion passenger-miles traveled.
  6. Amtrak Because the quasi-government agency’s accounting techniques are so misleading, it is impossible to determine how much money Amtrak receives in passenger receipts and subsidies.
  7. Passengers who traveled 6.475 billion passenger-miles on Amtrak’s trains generated $2.3 billion in ticket fares and $0.1 billion in food and beverage income, according to the company’s fiscal year 2019 year-end report (which ended September 30).
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It also states that state operating subsidies (which are included in “passenger related revenue”) totaled $234.2 million, while “state capital payment amortization” came to $127.4 million, according to the study.

The total amount of subsidies for 2019 was $2.3 billion, or 35.6 cents every passenger-mile traveled.

According to thefaresspreadsheet, the transportation industry received a total of $16.1 billion from passengers in 2011.

According to the servicespreadsheet, transit agencies transported 54.1 billion passenger-miles, resulting in an average fee of 29.7 cents and an average subsidy of $1.09 per passenger-mile.

In 2017, the American Bus Association conducted its most recent survey of motor coach operators.

Subsidies for buses were presumably similar to those for automobiles; bus operators pay less in federal gas taxes than the average vehicle, but this is compensated by greater occupancies than the typical bus.

Amtrak subsidies per passenger mile traveled were more than 30 times higher than airline subsidies, and transit subsidies per passenger mile traveled were almost exactly 100 times higher than highway subsidies.

Even public transportation rates are over 20% more expensive per passenger mile traveled than driving costs.

However, the disparities are so great that, even if subsidies were eliminated and Amtrak and public transportation systems were made as efficient as possible, most intercity passenger trains would be unlikely to survive, and public transportation service would be restricted to the densest cities and most heavily traveled routes.

Because highway use has decreased by just approximately 10% in the last year, highway expenses and subsidies will stay roughly the same.

Over time, all will recover to some extent, but it will be much more difficult to justify subsidies to Amtrak and public transportation, especially if they climb much above what they were prior to the epidemic.

Amtrak Government Discount

Amtrak provides federal government personnel with discounted prices for business travel inside the Northeast Corridor, as well as reductions for business travel on Coach fares across the United States and Canada. Federal government discounts must be purchased through a federal employees’ travel management business or corporate booking tool, and they may not be bought directly on or any other Amtrak website. For additional information, please contact Amtrak Government Travel at [email protected]

In the Northeast Corridor

With the Northeast Regional and Keystone Service, you may travel between more than 70 different stops. Amtrak has increased the number of seats available on the Acela Express under the Federal Discount Program. Pricing for the Acela extension will be similar to that of Northeast Regional, with a 5 percent discount applied to each fare class in the relevant areas. Due to the removal of the refund rules from our federal government tickets, your reservation (when bought through authorised channels) will now be completely refundable if cancelled before to your flight’s scheduled departure.

  • Book your business travel using your self-service booking tool or through your travel management company. It is not necessary to follow our standard refund policies if your reservation includes a federal government fare. When you purchase a federal government fare and cancel your trip before to departure, you will receive a full refund of your money. If you need to cancel your reservation, you can do it online at, using the Amtrak app, by phone at 1-800-USA-RAIL, or in person at an Amtrak station agent. Those who cancel their reservations prior to departure will receive a complete refund. No-shows and no-cancellations will result in forfeiture of the reservation.

Setting a New Standard of Travel

When it comes to increased safety and cleanliness procedures, Amtrak is setting the bar high and setting the norm for the industry. Get a better understanding of what we are doing to create a safe atmosphere throughout your Amtrak travel.

Government Business Travel

Mystic, ConnecticutProvidence, RI New Haven, Connecticut New Rochelle, New York is a city in the state of New York. Newark International Airport (NJ) Princenton Junction is a town in the state of New Jersey. North Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaNewark, Delaware BWI Airport (Baltimore/Washington International Airport) Kingston, Rhode Island Bridgeport, CTNew London, CTBridgeport, CT New York, New York Metropark, New JerseyTrenton, New JerseyPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania Aberdeen, Maryland (Md.) Carollton, Maryland is a city in the state of Maryland.

Wilmington (Delaware) Baltimore, Maryland is a city in Maryland.

Extensions and Branches Provide Service to

Richmond, Virginia is a city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Hartford (Connecticut)

Cities Served by Acela Service (First Class and Business Class)

The capital of the United States is Washington, DC. Wilmington (Delaware) Metropark, New JerseyStamford, Connecticut Route 128, Mile Marker M ABWI Airport is a small airport located in the city of Abilene, Texas. Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaNewark, New Jersey New Haven, Connecticut Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts Baltimore, Maryland is a city in Maryland. Trenton, New Jersey New York, New York New London, Connecticut Boston (Massachusetts) It is possible that the pricing and city pairings covered in this program will change.

  • The Amtrak Federal Discount Program will be expanded to include our National Service as well as the majority of State-sponsored services. Government travelers will discover reduced coach rates are available across the country for federal government employees. As part of the Amtrak Federal Discount Program, Business Class, Sleepers, and other upgrades are not included
  • Nevertheless, they are available for purchase as upgrades, with refund regulations applying to those purchases. There will be no changes to the Acela city pairings or the present Acela program. The Federal Discount is available through Niagara Falls, New York, on the Canadian Maple Leaf service. Amtrak Thruway bus services that are devoted to the Amtrak Thruway are offering increased savings. Dedicated Thruway services are those that are contracted with or operated by Amtrak. If non-dedicated Thruway busses (e.g., Greyhound) are made available, the discount will not be applied. Some travel providers will enable you to buy fares that are not covered in the Amtrak Federal Discount Program, such as train tickets. The refund and penalty regulations and penalties for the selected fare, i.e., Saver Fares, will apply if you choose a non-government fare instead. Reservations for Amtrak must be made through an approved booking channel, such as a Travel Management Company, CWT E2 Solution, or ConcurGov, in order to qualify for the government discount fares. Amtrak touchpoints around the country can cancel reservations
  • However, passengers must cancel trips prior to departure, since no-shows would result in a forfeiture of the reservation fee. The Amtrak Federal Discount Program allows you to obtain a full refund if you need to cancel your reservation up to the time of departure if you choose one of the discounted fares offered by Amtrak.

Benefits to Amtrak Rail Travel

  • Arrive to your destination in less time. Using Amtrak trains, you may go from one city core to another. Increase your productivity. The availability of complimentary WiFi and power plugs allows you to continue working while on the road. Take Advantage of the Opportunity for Flexible Scheduling When traveling inside the Northeast Corridor, you can mix and match coach and Acela schedules. Ride in Convenience More seat and leg room, the freedom to roam about, and access to the Lounge Cars are all advantages of upgrading.

New to Rail Travel? Check the FAQs

Those traveling for business on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Regional train service on behalf of the federal government will be eligible for a discount. The Acela service has been added to Amtrak’s Federal Discount Program, which was previously only available on the Empire Builder.

With a reduction of around 5 percent across each price class in the relevant markets, the Acela expansion is consistent with Northeast Regional pricing. For federal government business travelers, we’ve also increased discounts on the vast majority of national service and state trains.

How do I book travel to get this discount?

You will be given with a corporate account number that will be utilized to activate the discounted federal government travel ticket through your agency’s authorized Travel Management Company (TMC). The corporate account number can only be applied by TMCs, or through the booking mechanism offered by CWTSato or Concur, which is exclusively available to your agency. For further information, contact your travel agency. There are no discounts available through the Amtrak customer service center at 1-800-USA-RAIL or at, the Amtrak app, or through the Quik-Trak automated ticketing kiosks or through staffed ticket offices.

How do Amtrak fares work?

Amtrak fares are not determined by the GSA. When you make a reservation using one of the government-approved channels (CWTSato, Concur, or your TMC), the corporate ID number will be added to your reservation request. This ensures that you will receive the same interest rate as the federal government or a higher rate. From time to time, Amtrak may provide special fares that are less expensive than the federal government’s pricing plans. As a result, if this is the case, our system will always return to you the lowest possible fare based on the norms and conditions set forth by your agency regarding refunds and other matters.

What if I have to make a change while traveling?

A change in the itinerary of an existing reservation made through an authorised channel can be made by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL or visiting one of the company’s ticket offices. To make a new reservation, you must use one of the permitted online booking channels. Changes that result in increased costs must be approved in accordance with your agency’s policies.

What if my trip gets canceled? Can I get a refund?

Tickets purchased as part of a federal government travel fare are completely refunded. A “no show” is defined as a ticket that has not been canceled before the planned departure time. In this case, the whole price of the ticket is forfeited and cannot be put against future travel.

Why should I choose Amtrak for my travel?

  • In order to keep you safe, Amtrak has increased the frequency and quality of cleaning on board trains and in stops. The onboard filtration systems on all Amtrak trains exchange new air every 4-5 minutes, ensuring that the trains are as clean as possible. Electrical outlets are located at each seat, allowing you to work or rest while sitting there. Baggage allowances are generous
  • While traveling, you should have the freedom to roam about. Lounge Cars are equipped with food and beverage service. In the majority of cases, service is provided from city center to city center. Spend less time and money navigating parking lots and finding alternate modes of transportation to your final destination. On each train along the Northeast Corridor, there are quiet cars. More space in the seat and leg room
  • There are no restocking costs. Service throughout the United States, with discounts offered to federal government employees

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