Great articles in the Albuquerque Journal today on the Rail Runner, the fact that event with $19 million in annual subsidies, that the train service needs to make up a $750,000 deficit, and the possibility that weekend service may have to be curtailed in order to cut costs.
Of course, there was the expected hue and cry from riders, merchants, and even the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce over the possibility that weekend service will have to be reduced. By implication, these groups believe that the rest of us should be asked to dig into our pockets even deeper to fund their train. But there’s another way…
How about charging weekend riders a little more to make up the difference? Perhaps members of the Albuquerque Chamber and merchants near the train station in Santa Fe who supposedly benefit so much from the train would be willing to help fill the $750 million gap? It would seem to me that those who benefit the most from the train should be willing to pay a little more for it, particularly since the rest of us are already covering $400 million in construction costs and $19 million annually in operating costs. If these groups are not willing to put up any more money to keep the trains running, then perhaps it is not really as beneficial as they say.
Fair is fair…cut service or let beneficiaries pay more. Don’t burden the rest of us with an even bigger bill.