Thursday, February 20, 2020

High-speed rail? Oh no, Joe!

Joe Biden

Joe Biden during last night's debate:

"And I would invest in rail, in rail. Rail can take hundreds of thousands, millions of cars off the road if we have high-speed rail."

Rob's comment:
Biden used to ride the Acela Amtrak line, which isn't really high-speed rail.

Randal O'Toole on the Northeast Corridor:

Amtrak’s claim that its Northeast Corridor trains earn a profit is a fantasy. This claim is based on a familiar subterfuge: its cost accounting of each of its routes leaves out depreciation. The “profits” it claims to earn on Northeast Corridor trains are actually spent maintaining that corridor---and fall well short of maintenance needs. 

Most of Amtrak’s infrastructure is in the Northeast Corridor, so most of the $807 million in 2018 deprecation should have been charged to those trains. In fact, Amtrak may be underestimating depreciation in the corridor.

According to a 2009 Amtrak report, Amtrak’s portion of the corridor had a $5.5 billion maintenance backlog. But a 2010 report found that the corridor has $52 billion of capital replacement needs. 

Amtrak’s inability to set aside enough money to keep its infrastructure in a state of good repair clearly shows that the Northeast Corridor is not earning a profit...

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Larry Ellison: Proto-fascist

From the Daily Beast:

Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, one of the largest software companies in the world, hosted a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s re-election on Wednesday at the tech titan’s Southern California estate. The event was expected to bring in some $7 million for the incumbent president...

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