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Insta-CoGo: Amtrak to Keep on Rolling

Cindy Loose

A possible strike that could have shut down passenger travel on Amtrak as of the end of this month seems to have been averted. Although a new contract proposal has yet to be ratified, company and union leaders came to a tentative agreement Friday. Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said the company is "confident" that workers will ratify it.

Details of the tentative agreement weren't available today: Union leaders want to present the package to their membership first. However, Block said that while it doesn't follow exactly the recommendations of a presidential board, it's close. The board recommended that since Amtrak had "failed to bargain in good faith" for eight years as a means of keeping wages at 1999 levels, the company should provide retroactive raises going back eight years. It recommended increases that average 2.6 percent a year.

Will ticket prices have to increase to pay for the raises? "Not necessarily," said Black, adding that "Congress might have to be involved."

CoGo's interpretation of that: Congress will have to pony up some more bucks to keep the railroad running. And why not? Taxpayer dollars subsidize the trucking industry by building roads, so why not help a more efficient, less deadly means of transportation?

By Cindy Loose |  January 22, 2008; 1:27 PM ET  | Category:  Cindy Loose , Insta-CoGo
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Amtrak and it's unions are in sort of an Alice in Wonderland economics. People riding Amtrak pay a tiny fraction of the cost of travel with taxpayers picking up the bulk of the costs. If you are one of the one percent of Americans who travel on Amtrak each year, it's a good deal. If you are among the 99 percent of Americans who don't travel on Amtrak in any given year, it's not a good deal. Either way, the union can have as many raises as it wants as long as the 99 percent who pay but don't ride also don't complain.

Posted by: Tom | January 22, 2008 4:26 PM

They are so heavily subsidised already - why doen't the Govt just give them the extra 1% of their funding that comes from ticket sales! Then we can all ride for free, they are now govies so they can't strike and we can actually use the train for less than the cost of plane tickets!

Posted by: Amtrak is pathetic | January 23, 2008 7:33 AM

Needs to be more people on Amtrak, it sure beats driving, especially in large cities!

Posted by: Jean Brickell | January 23, 2008 3:44 PM

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO COMPLAIN THAT THE GOVERNMENT(OTHER PEOPLE) PAYS TOO MUCH, LET US TALK ABOUT THE REAL ECONOMY. E.G. ROADS, BRIDGES ETC IRAQ FOR AUTO GAS, AND.... NOW THE HISTORY - IF YOU KNEW OF THE TIME WHEN TRAINS WERE PROFITABLE COMPANIES, (THINK THE GAME MONOPOLYDS), YOU KNEW THAT THE CAPITALISM OF THE PASSENGER TRAIN COMPANIES WAS TO MILK THE TRAINS OF MONEY THEN SELL TO THE GOVERNMENT, SO DO NOT BLAME THE TRAIN PASSENGERS, BUT THE RIP-OFF "ENTREPRENEURS". I THINK TRAINS ARE THE ONLY SENSIBLE WAY TO TRAVEL WHEN YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT ALL VARIABLES, EXCEPT AVAILABILITY!!!. BUT IT CERTAINLY WOULD HELP IF EVERYONE WOULD KNOW AND USE THEM INSTEAD OF JUMPING INTO THE CAR FOR THE INCONVENIENT/EXPENSIVE CONVENIENCE. YOU CAN ENJOY TRAVEL ON THE TRAIN, WHEREAS IN THE CAR YOU ENDURE AND THE DRIVER HAS A JOB TO DO ALL THE TIME, WHILE THE PASSENGERS HAVE A JOB OF STAYING UNBORED - PASSING MC D, KFC, WENDYS, ETC BILLBOARDS. AS A SIDE ISSUE, I THINK ALL OF CONGRESS SHOULD RIDE THE TRAINS TO SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING INSTEAD OF USING THE AIRLINES AND CARS AT TAXPAYERS EXPENSE. THEY COULD SEE ANOTHER SIDE OF AMERICA. THEY MIGHT ALSO SEE THAT TOO MUCH OF AMERICA IS NOT SERVICED BY THE TRAINS - THE HISTORY WILL SADLY TELL YOU WHYS! MAYBE THEY WILL RESTORE THE TRAIN SERVICE AND REALLY MAKE IT PROFITABLE!! BUT THEN WHO IN GOVERNMENT CAN BE FOCUSED ON PROFIT? IN THE MEANTIME I, AN AMERICAN, CAN ENJOY THE TRAINS HERE IN CHINA, THOUGH PACKED AT TIMES, THEY CAN BE SO ENJOYABLE IF I WANT TO SEE THE COUNTRY AND ENJOY THE CHINESE PEOPLE. MANY AMERICANS WANT TO SIT IN COMFORT WITH EVERYTHING FITTING THEIR SPECIFICATIONS; CAUSING MANY LIKE ME TO AVOID AMERICAN TOURISTS LIKE THE PLAGUE? wHEN THE SKIES ARE CLOGGED AND THE AIR TICKETS ARE HIGH, AND THE HIGHWAYS ARE CROWDED, DO YOU HAVE A CHOICE OF GOING ON THE TRAIN? PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE IS THE JOB OF GOVERNMENT AND SOME ENTREPRENEURS. WHEN? RON ROCCO, RIZHAO, SHANDONG, CHINA

Posted by: Ron Rocco | January 23, 2008 8:09 PM

Ron Rocco, if you're still there: good arguments and fascinating detail about China, but next time, please disable the "caps lock" key. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to read block after block of capital letters and how easy it is to give up and skip. You're losing emphasis, not gaining it.

Posted by: iyenori | February 13, 2008 4:25 PM

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