In response to your recent article about Salt Lake's Amtrak "slipping into the night" (July 10), I am always amused at how Amtrak is expected to make a profit when in fact it is federally subsidized with only a tiny amount compared to the airlines and departments of roads and highways. How can it be judged fairly when there are unfair comparisons?
More specifically, airlines are subsidized with $15 billion in federal money per year; roads and highways are subsidized with $32 billion per year. Amtrak, in its 30-year history, has only received $23 billion (for those of you with your pocket calculators handy, that averages to $.76 billion per year. In reality, Amtrak received $500 million last year from the feds).
Train travel is a wonderful and relaxing alternative to crowded airports and to driving (you don't have to do anything, and you actually can walk around while you travel). In response to Sen. Bob Bennett's comment that "no one uses the train to come to Salt Lake City," maybe people would use trains if trains were routed here. We need to push for more funding for Amtrak as a viable alternative and not lose our voices to powerful airline and automobile lobbyists in Washington!
Lynn Maxine Rosen
Salt Lake City