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Privatize Amtrak

President Biden loves Amtrak so much that last year he showered it with $4.4 billion in new money, a staggering four times it’s average yearly funding. Another $60 billion is scheduled to flow to Amtrak in the next few years.

The money will subsidize Amtrak’s inflated union contracts as well as promised government-run bullet trains in Texas and California. California’s train, approved by voters 15 years ago, is only now reviewing preliminary bids for building a track between out-of-the-way Merced and Bakersfield, with no concrete plan to reach either Los Angeles or the Bay Area for another decade.

A private-sector approach will be unveiled in Florida this month. Brightline, which already runs trains between Miami and West Palm Beach, will now extend service to Orlando. Going up to 125 mph an hour, its trains will cut the journey time nearly in half to just over three hours. Tickets start at $79.

Brightline will also start construction this year on another route between the LA area and Las Vegas. Projected at speeds of almost 200 mph, the trip will take only two hours and 10 minutes. Some federal funding is involved, but Brightline is mostly privately funded and will have a profit motive.

There’s no law of economics or nature that says train service has to lose money. But that always happens when the government is in charge and runs it off the rails.

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