Like many bureacracies, Amtrak just refuses to die. New evidence of incompetency causing the latest accident as wel as an incident where man suffering a heart attack on a rush-hour commuter train was forced to wait while the train made scheduled stops to pick up passengers before reaching paramedics in Boston don’t seem to deter Amtrak bureacrats from asking for more $, leading to a “a $64.7 billion transportation bill that would provide $1.2 billion for Amtrak.” Bush has proposed a more typically “conservative” $521 million, as an “emergency measure”. Meanwhile, if you look up Amtrak’s “
Legislative Grant Request” (a document begging for more federal money) they claim to attain profitability by Dec 2002 “just around the corner”, just as they have been claiming for the last dozen years. It’s unclear how this is possible considering that they have a huge and growing deficit and a large % of their cars is down for repairs without the funds to do any. Meanwhile their high speed train initiative has stalled, while Japan has had low cost commuter trains going over 170mph for years.