Shut it down, one department at a time <br><br>The budget could be balanced in one year, and the national debt paid off in 10, but unfortunately nobody is willing to do it. Kerry's lousy plan was to cut the deficit in half in 4 years, Bush in 5. No difference. <br><br>
That was suggested by a Brit, with the Economist I think, during their problems with hoof and mouth disease. He said that all agriculture should be performed in third world countries (they need the work) and the British countryside could then be used to a much higher level, as a playground for city people on weekends. Everyone benefits. <br><br>
_________________________ Old farts, the hidden caulk of civilization. Jim Atkinson
Ah... the wonderfully wacky world of rail transit.<br><br>I don't think the government should shut Amtrak down just for the simple reason that it's loosing money. All rail transit systems (in Chicago: Amtrak for intercity, Metra for commuter, and CTA for light) rely on some kind of government support for their infrastructure. Since the government is not building roads like it does for personal transit and buses, or controlling the traffic like it does for the airlines, asking it to forget intercity rail is unfair given Amtrak's competition.<br><br>Most of Amtrak's problems stem from one big thing: those curious steel rails the trains ride on. With the only exception in the great northeast transportation corridor, Amtrak does not own a single mile of track outside their stations. So they have to lease the right of way on aging freight lines from companies like Union Pacific. You would think that's not a big deal since someone else is taking care of the tracks and traffic control, but the freight lines reserve right of way for their trains (delaying Amtrak's) and also only care enough for the tracks to allow trains to go around 45 MPH (derailing Amtrak's).<br><br>So the solution is not to end Amtrak, but to make it work. For an example on how to do that, just look at the northeast corridor. There, Amtrak was able to raise enough capital to buy their own right of way. They refurbished the entire set of tracks for high speed travel and bought some train-sets from Europe. Today, the Acela line is actually turning a profit and ridership is huge.<br><br>What Amtrak needs is not these short shots in the arm to keep them on the edge of solvency, they need a whole fresh business plan. So here's what Congress should do. They should broker a deal with the freight companies to buy up all those unused intercity rights of way. (There's tons of them out there, just rusting.) They should then grant them to Amtrak with an interest free loan which Amtrak can use to stay solvent on their older routs as they refurbish their most used rail lines and convert them to Acela express service.<br><br>Just think about the end result. We could turn Amtrak into a modern, high-speed rail system competitive with the airlines for very little cost to the government. If you want to know how cheap rail is, consider this: to completely redo the old rail line that runs north and south between Chicago and Milwaukee would cost less than a third of the cost to build one highway overpass. Pretty cool huh? <br><br>-- Charlie Alpha Roger Yankee Whiskey
<blockquote><font size=1>In reply to:</font><hr><p>He said that all agriculture should be performed in third world countries <p><hr></blockquote><p>Woohoo! Its rice and beans for everybody! --»<br><br><br><br>When did the National Guard turn into the foreign legion?
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