The establishment of a transportation policy has been the target of several aviation trade groups. The proposal, mentioned in this article, argues that high speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis should be subsidized, points out some of the divergent, poorly integrated transportation positions that are being advocated. The US Transportation Department was created to establish a unified policy over all modes. While industrial policy is not considered to be an acceptable element to free market economics, the subsidization of Amtrak raises questions of the multimodal/intermodal policy consistency of the US Department of Transportation.
There has been great political debate about whether user fees should be assessed on all aviation operations in order to recover the ATC costs thereof. The current Secretary of Transportation is an advocate for that view. At the same time, Congress has been highly critical of the subsidies paid to and inefficiencies of Amtrak. The same Secretary defends the payments made to the National Transportation Corporation.
It is completely incongruous to be considering adding new subsidies for this extension of high speed rail service. If this funding for rail service is adopted and if user fees are imposed on airlines, the US Government would be, in essence, betting on one mode of transportation and penalizing the other.
Mr. Secretary, please articulate a Transportation policy which justifies taxing (user fees) on all flights and also justifies the subsidizing high speed rail.Share this article: