Last week, the US House of Representatives approved an additional $2 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program, in which consumers can receive a rebate up to $4,500 when they trade their old(er) car in for a brand new car. The U.S. Senate must still approve the bill.
Over the past decade, Amtrak has had to make do with about $1.2 billion in annual funding. Transit systems nationwide, who often provide the only transportation for the working poor, are hiking fares and cutting service. People who already own working cars, however, get a very substantial cash benefit with absolutely no concession expected from them.
Paul Dorn promised some thought on Cash for Clunkers also, though he hasn't posted them yet (as of Sunday afternoon). He vented some of his thoughts on a discussion list so I hope he'll publish them in a more public forum.
Holy Man: "Don't give me any guff about transit and cyclists not paying their fair share, when the government is subsidizing private car ownership."
SF Streetsblog: "The "cash for clunkers" rebate program, which promises new auto buyers up to $4,500 for fuel-efficiency upgrades as small as 2 miles per gallon, is back to life after burning through $1 billion in taxpayer cash."
Green Grok analyzes the life cycle breakdown of how Cash for Clunkers works out.
That bit about the paltry support of Amtrak really hurts...folks have decried government support of them for years, even though it is a fairly small annual sum, all things considered...
Meanwhile, people don't blink an eye when the automotive and airline industries get massive government hand-outs...does anyone remember that just after 9/11, the Federal government gave the airlines billions of dollars to get their businesses up and running after the scares were over? My father (a longtime supporter of rail transit) suggested that the airlines got more money in one week than Amtrak had in 10 or more years of government help!