Maurice Harris

An article in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch discusses the increasing ridership of Amtrak between Chicago and St. Louis. Last year, the State of Illinois increased funding for Amtrak to add two more trains to service between St. Louis and Chicago, and apparently people are taking advantage:

Passenger train ridership in the St. Louis-Chicago corridor is up more
than 40 percent since October, when Amtrak added two trains to the
three that already offered daily round-trip service.

I am semi-glad that Amtrak is doing well, since people are taking advantage of the increased service. I use Amtrak frequently, myself. As a college student who doesn't want to spend a ton of money driving from home to school, Amtrak is a great option to save some dollars. Yet the problem I have with Amtrak is that it requires heavy ongoing subsidies from federal and state governments, because it's been unable to turn a profit. One major reason is that it is prone to delays, because it doesn't have a right-of-way — freight trains have priority. Hopefully, one day taxpayers won't have to subsidize Amtrak, and private rail service that operates at a profit will return.

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Maurice Harris