Randal O'Toole

Trump Plan Probably Won’t Repair Crumbling Infrastructure

The White House released President Trump’s infrastructure plan today, which calls for spending $200 billion federal dollars as seed money to stimulate a total of $1.5 trillion on “gleaming new infrastructure.”

State of the Union's Infrastructure

Remember America’s crumbling infrastructure that supposedly needs trillions of dollars for maintenance and rehabilitation? President Trump doesn’t.

Questions to Ask About Amtrak 501

The wreck of the 501–the Amtrak train that crashed near Seattle on Monday–is raising lots of questions about Amtrak operations, but they aren’t always the right ones.

It’s the Last Stop on the Light-Rail Gravy Train

When it comes to mass transit, politicians never learn. Last month, Nashville Mayor Megan Berry announced a $5.2 billion proposal that involves building 26 miles of light rail and digging an expensive tunnel under the city’s downtown.

Don't Build the Purple Line

Maryland wants to spend $5.6 billion building and operating the Purple Line light rail at a time when transit ridership is declining, and that decline appears poised to accelerate.

The Economics of Amtrak

Amtrak’s co-CEO Wick Moorman has announced that the passenger railroad is thinking of offering a new service to compete with the airlines: economy seating that is crammed together as tightly as airline seats.

Trump's Infrastructure Plan

Greater reliance on user fees, federal loans rather than grants, and corporatization are three keys to the Trump administration’s infrastructure initiative released as a part of its 2018 budget.

10 Reasons to Stop Subsidizing Urban Transit

As the Trump administration debates whether to help fund a $1.75 billion transit project in California that will do almost nothing to increase transit ridership, it is time to reconsider whether transit should be subsidized at all.

An Electrifyingly Bad Decision

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s decision to give $647 million to California to electrify a San Francisco commuter rail line tells states and cities across the nation that they should plan the most expensive and wasteful infrastructure projects they can and the Trump administration will support them.

Amtrak’s World-Class Losses

Amtrak issued its F.Y. 2016 unaudited financial results last week with a glowing press release claiming a “new ridership record and lowest operating loss ever.” Noting that “ticket sales and other revenues” covered 94 percent of Amtrak’s operating costs, Amtrak media relations called this “a world-class performance for a passenger carrying railroad.” The reality is quite a bit more dismal.

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