Happening Now

What about those "subsidies?"

July 18, 2012

Written By Malcolm Kenton

The late former President of NARP, John R. (Jack) Martin, penned this analysis of the battle that train advocates have always fought against the notion that passenger trains are "subsidized" while other travel modes are not, or aren't to the same extent for a Trains Magazine feature on Amtrak in the May 1986 issue.

Sadly, his words are just as true today as very little has changed in the overall federal transportation policy picture, though many small steps forward have been taken, particularly within the last five years since the 2008 enactment of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act. It is up to us to constantly remind those we know just how much public policy and the language used in the popular media is slanted in favor of highways and air travel, and counter this pervasive spin with the facts.

Here's what Martin wrote in 1986:

Courtesy of Trains Magazine/Kalmbach Publishing Co
Courtesy of Trains Magazine/Kalmbach Publishing Co