Train Service a Plus for Businesses

Full story: NBC29 Charlottesville

Despite record numbers of passengers, Amtrak's route linking Charlottesville and Washington D.C. could come to an end if the General Assembly does not extend its funding.
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1 - 18 of 18 Comments Last updated Feb 4, 2011
BBJ

Charlottesville, VA

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#1
Feb 4, 2011
 

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No why should I have to help pay for something I don't use. If it won't pay for it self don't fund it with my tax money.
Tom

Palmyra, VA

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#2
Feb 4, 2011
 

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If the train benefits local businesses, they should be willing to subsidize its operations, not the taxpayers. This is the same mindset that allows taxpayers to get stuck with the bill for large stadiums in metropolitan areas; the "influx of revenue from visitors" is supposed to pay for the cost, but the taxpayer never sees the benefits. If train service is viable, the riders should be willing to pay for the actual cost of the trip; otherwise, the train should be cancelled.
This is just another kind of welfare program.
Concerned

Montpelier, VA

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#3
Feb 4, 2011
 

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Taxes paid directly by motorists account for only a small share of the roads budget. Just this week the State decided to cut spending on police and schools to spend even more on roads.

So the posters above are happy for non drivers to pay for the interstate when you drive to DC but you object to cost sharing if they want to take the train?
trainer

Charlottesville, VA

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#4
Feb 4, 2011
 

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Why is one transportation system (roads) considered a public need and paid for with huge amounts of tax money, while some commenters here expect trains to pay for themselves? You could make all of the same accusations about roads (if roads are viable, drivers should be willing to pay their full cost - roads are just another welfare program). And don't try to tell me that taxes on gas are a user fee that pays for road maintenance and construction. It helps, but it doesn't begin to cover all the costs.
cognitive d

Charlottesville, VA

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#5
Feb 4, 2011
 

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Some of the posters seem to be missing the point; the DC/Lynchburg train IS paying for itself. Do people even read the article or just go into knee-jerk mode when they see the word "Amtrak"?
Diane Grubbs

Charlottesville, VA

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#6
Feb 4, 2011
 
I have been using the Amtrak service to visit my family in Northern Virginia for over a year now and it is one of the best services I've ever used. Before this, I rode Greyhound, and there is no comparison. I do know that everytime I have ridden the train, it is FULL! Wonderful service and I hope it can continue.

Since: Aug 10

Earlysville, VA

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#7
Feb 4, 2011
 

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cognitive d wrote:
Some of the posters seem to be missing the point; the DC/Lynchburg train IS paying for itself. Do people even read the article or just go into knee-jerk mode when they see the word "Amtrak"?
From article:
"Despite record numbers of passengers, Amtrak's route linking Charlottesville and Washington D.C. could come to an end if the General Assembly does not extend its funding."

If it is paying for itself then why does the article talk about the General Assembly extending the funding? The source for the money the General Assembly will use for funding is taxpayer based isn't it?
NoFreeLunch

San Antonio, TX

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#8
Feb 4, 2011
 

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If people want this service, they should have to pay for it. Trainer, you and others need a simple economic lesson on differentiating between NEEDS (roads) and WANTS (trains). I have also taken a trip on this train, and the ticket price was WAY TOO LOW to cover the costs! This country seriously needs to get out of the "free lunch business." We have created a culture that not only EXPECT someone else to pay for their WANTS, but DEMAND it! Why do we borrow 41 cents of every dollar to fund this--when those who ride it can pay for their own DESIRES?

Since: Aug 10

Earlysville, VA

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#9
Feb 4, 2011
 
Concerned wrote:
Taxes paid directly by motorists account for only a small share of the roads budget. Just this week the State decided to cut spending on police and schools to spend even more on roads.
So the posters above are happy for non drivers to pay for the interstate when you drive to DC but you object to cost sharing if they want to take the train?
With all due respect it sounds like you are saying that the % of non drivers among taxpayers is much greater than the % of drivers. I would like to see some numbers supporting that assertion. Maybe you are correct but, right now, I am finding that hard to believe. Did I misunderstand what you are saying?

Also, it seems to me that non drivers would overwhelmingly use roads (taxi, bus, JAUNT, relatives, etc.) to get where they need to go...not rail.
NoFreeLunch

San Antonio, TX

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#10
Feb 4, 2011
 

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cognitive d wrote:
Some of the posters seem to be missing the point; the DC/Lynchburg train IS paying for itself. Do people even read the article or just go into knee-jerk mode when they see the word "Amtrak"?
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That's great. Let's pull ALL the federal borrowing from AMTRAK and see which ones still survive. Is this REALLY worth our government borrowing to spend money we don't have? Savings must begin somewhere--let's not pretend we don't have a money problem in America. Let's get rid of the WANTS before things get so bad that we are forced to cut BASIC NEEDS. Ignoring it, as President Obama did during his State of the Union Address, only makes it worse.
citizen

United States

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#11
Feb 4, 2011
 
Surely cost would be no problem if UVA, along with the hotels and wineries, got together and figured a way to underwrite this service that benefits all of them.

Lots of people from northern Virginia come to UVA hospital since it is the only institution in the state that is allowed to use certain drugs and procedures and many of these folks have to use a train instead of a bus due to pain and other considerations.

Amtrak might well jump at the opportunity to offer discounted tickets to a group of supporters in central Virginia.

Just the sort of thing that our Chamber of Commerce is good at.
NormanT

Charlottesville, VA

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#12
Feb 4, 2011
 
cognitive d wrote:
Some of the posters seem to be missing the point; the DC/Lynchburg train IS paying for itself. Do people even read the article or just go into knee-jerk mode when they see the word "Amtrak"?
If this route is paying for itself, why is there a state funding request?
NormanT

Charlottesville, VA

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#13
Feb 4, 2011
 
Many many years ago, the federal government got involved with the raidroads of American. They did so in order to help either the short lines, or the long lines can't remember which. It was supposed to improve things for the consumer, but as always with the federal government, comsumer costs went up not down.

Same song just a different time.
citizen

United States

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#14
Feb 4, 2011
 
A consideration.

Many people in the Charlottesville area do not own a car and many of these don't even have driver's licenses, yet, they pay state taxes which in turn pay for a lot of the road costs.

Is this fair?

Well, when the CTS, JAUNT bus or other conveyance takes them to their jobs, or the mall, the buses, taxis, whatever, have to use the same road system that the rest of us rely upon.

The train track network makes most of it's money off of moving stock---several thousand empty coal hoppers go by my house every day as a CSX locomotive pulls them back up to West Virginia to be refilled. This puts millions into the state budget every year and that helps all of us.

AMTRAK is one of many carriers that use the same track system.

There are many aspects to AMTRAK's passenger lines and most of us would agree that there are too many cars on the roads around here already.

If more hotels and UVA, wineries too, could use shuttle buses that pick people up at the train station the car count around here would go down and that is, I believe, a good thing.
Concerned

Montpelier, VA

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#15
Feb 4, 2011
 
nicknameoscar wrote:
With all due respect it sounds like you are saying that the % of non drivers among taxpayers is much greater than the % of drivers. I would like to see some numbers supporting that assertion. Maybe you are correct but, right now, I am finding that hard to believe. Did I misunderstand what you are saying?
Also, it seems to me that non drivers would overwhelmingly use roads (taxi, bus, JAUNT, relatives, etc.) to get where they need to go...not rail.
No, what I was saying is that the actual cost of using the roads is much greater than motorists pay when they tax their car and fill up with gas. The roads are subsidized through general taxation.

It is hypocritical in the extreme to suggest that the road for your car should be subsidized whereas a train service should not.

While people will, of course, use other forms of transport locally, these are not available for many longer journeys.

It's also worth considering that it's not just green tree-huggers using these train services. This country has an aging population, many of whom can no longer drive, or cannot drive long distances. For these people a comfortable train where they can stretch their feet during a long journey is one of the only transport options available to them. Consider that one day, that person unable to drive may be you.
lawyer

Palmyra, VA

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#16
Feb 4, 2011
 

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The cost of the train service should be covered by the amount of procedes taken in by ticket revenue. This is simple business people. If you don't make enough money to cover your expenses in a business, you go broke.
Property values here in central virginia are already bad enough with out shipping in more and more northerners with pipe dreams of mini horse farms and vineyards. The local or native people here can't even buy their kids an acre ot two for a simple home to start off with.
I say let the train service die unless it can support itself.
Concerned

Montpelier, VA

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#17
Feb 4, 2011
 
lawyer wrote:
The cost of the train service should be covered by the amount of procedes taken in by ticket revenue. This is simple business people.
Your simple business model would say your car tax should run a couple of thousand dollars per year. Of course it doesn't and it shouldn't t because we price in all the other reasons for roads and then subsidize them through taxation.

Because you use the roads you think this is your entitlement. It's a 'welfare' provision you are happy to accept and enjoy each and every day.

Yet, because you don't use the train, you don't think we should look beyond its upfront cost. You think we should ignore ancillary benefits. You believe we should discount the jobs it creates.

The truth is, business isn't simple.
Dom Casual

Charlottesville, VA

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#18
Feb 4, 2011
 
OK - fair is fair.

Rail passenger's fares should cover those costs and automobile users should cover highway costs with the appropriate fuel and automobile taxes plus toll roads.

Just sayin'

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