President Trump’s preliminary budget cuts all funding for Amtrak long-distance trains. Although there’s a lot I don’t like about this budget, I have to say I understand Trump’s position. Amtrak’s long-distance trains are money-losers, and despite the standard denials from Amtrak supporters, they’re really “land cruises” for people who like riding trains or hate airplanes and buses. And subsidizing a handful of expensive trains for those folks isn’t a high national priority.
But before you leave scathing comments about my position, I also believe that, when the dust settles, Amtrak will still have all or most of its long-distance trains running. The only reason Amtrak got funded in the first place was the decision to run long-distance trains, once a day or less, through enough states to garner congressional support, and that political reality isn’t going to change any time soon.
— Ed Perkins, editor
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