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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Bad idea: http://reason.com/archives/2015/05/18/to-make-amtrak-safer-privatize-it

http://reason.com/archives/2015/05/18/to-make-amtrak-safer-privatize-it#comment_5308312


OK, I'm a transportation nut. I like planes, trains and cars (not busses.) I've ridden almost all of the Amtrak trains in the country as well as many trains in Europe. I also remember the trains of the fifties when they were all privately owned. I would HATE to return to trains of the fifties. Amtrak has many problems, no question, but they have done a remarkable job with very limited funding and a lot of political interference. As of today we don't know the cause of the Amtrak derailment and need to wait for the NTSB's report before jumping to conclusions, but it does appear as if some kind of projectile thrown at the train (a common occurrence) may have been a factor.
As a libertarian (or perhaps more a pragmatist than ideologue) government has but two roles: build infrastructure and provide for the common defense. We screwed up the common defense part by spending trillions on nation building everywhere but at home, and have ignored infrastructure, Ride the trains in Germany, Switzerland, France or Spain (I hear they are phenomenal in Japan and China, too) and tell me that trains should be privatized. There are some things a national government can indeed do better, e.g., the interstate highway system.
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