Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Amtrak Plans $7 Billion Upgrade of DC's Union Station

The taxpayer supported passenger rail service, Amtrak, is planning to spend $7 billion upgrading its station in Washington, D.C., reports The Hill.

Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said it made sense for the agency to invest in its station in the national capital.

"Washington Union Station is an integral part of the Northeast transportation network, facing urgent capacity issues and a need to expand to support increasing ridership growth across all services,” Boardman said in a statement. “This plan will transform the station into a world-class transportation hub to serve the region and the mobility needs of generations of passengers yet to come."

It should, of course, be noted that Amtrak couldn't run at all, given its current operating budget deficits that are in the hundreds of millions, without taxpayer subsidies. The upgrades simply add to the taxpayer costs.

The passenger rail industry needs to be privatized to see what kind of true demand exists for passenger rail service and how that might be delivered in a free market.


  1. It reminds me of Mises saying how government enterprises can run at a deficit as long as taxpayers are willing to keep funding them.

    I'm pretty sure that was in Economic Policy Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow. Also known as "The Six Lessons" in South America. It's a short and easy read and it's awesome.

  2. I literally just put down Hazlitt's economics in one lesson to get dressed after finishing Chapter 2: Public Works Means Taxes. Already familiar with the argument it was refreshing to read it so clearly and understandably.

    I think now more than ever is a time where everyone should send out a link in email, social network, etc. to request their friends and family read such material. offers it free here as .pdf(

    What is needed is literally an intellectual revolution otherwise we face more of the same if not worse regardless of which State holds power or what 'legal tender' circulates.

    Gotta start somewhere. Still blown away at the timing of my reading this post...

  3. With all do respect, the passenger-commuter car/trucking transaction & business subsidies need to end, for rail to have a fair shot.

    The last line is a bit of red meat for the masses, that misses the gorilla in the room.

  4. Moscow has beautiful metro stations too.

  5. 'Seems appropriate that the only major metro area in the country not experiencing a recession should upgrade its shrines to itself. The rest of us? I'll have the cake, please.