The Cost of Speed

The Cost of Speed

Recently, Amtrak announced that a $450 million will be earmarked to upgrade 24 miles of track in New Jersey, so that Acela trains can reach 160 mph over that stretch, as compared to the current speed of 135 mph.

Let’s see what this really means. If my math is correct, a train traveling 135 mph would cover 24 miles in just under 11 minutes. At a speed of 160 mph, that distance would be covered in about 9 minutes.

So, we are talking about spending $450 million in taxpayer funds to save Acela riders a total of 2 minutes on their trip between Philadelphia and New York City.

This is hardly a prudent use of taxpayer funds, and is symptomatic of the waste that is embedded in government spending.

If Amtrak were truly a private concern, I very much doubt that they would squander their capital dollars in this manner.