By RailPAC President Noel T. Braymer — There were lots of news stories along with misinformation over the action of the Amtrak Board this late September. (For the full story read the accompanying news report from the Bureau of National Affairs) The Amtrak Board created a new Amtrak subsidiary comprised of the entire North East Corridor. This move is primarily for accounting purposes in order to discover the true costs and revenues of the NEC compared to the rest of the national system. The need for this action can be traced back to research by former RailPAC officers, the late Byron Nordberg and Dr. Adrian Herzog in the 1980′s. They with others discovered substantial evidence that Amtrak’s accounting was spreading the high overhead costs of the NEC to the rest of the national system, particularly the long distance trains. Doing this hides the costs of the NEC while making it look like long distance trains require hundreds of dollars of subsidy per passenger carried. A Federal Railroad Agency study concluded that excluding depreciation and allocated costs the direct cost’s of Amtrak’s long distance trains were only 73.5 million dollars in 2003. Separating the NEC costs from the rest of the national system was one of the recommendations made by the Amtrak Reform Council back in 2002.

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