Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Greyhound's Demise? Blame motorist subsidies, not Amtrak

Letters to the Editor
Sacramento Bee
2100 Q Street
Sacramento, CA 95816


I was saddened to hear the news that Greyhound is ending its Quicklink commuter service between Sacramento and San Francisco. ("Left out in the cold", 1/22/06) However, I was very disappointed that your writer used this termination as an opportunity to slam the popular Amtrak Capitol Corridor service.

All transportation modes are subsidized. Has Greyhound paid all the costs for construction and operations of Interstate 80, the park-n-ride lots where it collects passengers, or the Transbay Terminal where it drops commuters? No. Do motorists pay the full costs of roads, parking, police, fire, emergency service, courts, trauma centers, and environmental mitigation? Hardly.

However, your writer chose to hang the pejorative "state-subsidized" solely onto the Capitol Corridor, as if this were the cause of Greyhound's failed service. I was especially disappointed that your writer used as his principal source Wendell Cox, a widely-debunked and notorious lobbyist for the auto industry. (See: http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_00014.htm)

Again, all transportation modes are subsidized; automobile travel is obviously the most heavily subsidized mode. In an era of increasing congestion, rising energy costs, and growing environmental challenges, we need to provide more options to driving. Clearly this includes efficient passenger rail, such as the Capitol Corridor.


Paul Dorn


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