The Biden infrastructure plan has many moving parts, among which is up to $80 billion for rail service, including perennial money loser Amtrak.

Amtrak is so excited about the idea of getting a big bailout from the federal government (on top of the $1 billion it got from the CARES Act and the $1.7 billion it got in the American Rescue Plan) that it’s rolled out a so-called “fantasy map” of new routes and destinations – a shrewd bit of marketing as the Biden plan goes to Congress.

But before we get too excited about shoveling even more money into Amtrak’s bottomless pit, transportation guru Randal O’Toole has some very pointed words about the whole idea:

The money for mass transit and Amtrak isn’t really needed either because the pandemic has accelerated the decline in the importance of these systems that was already taking place before 2020. Biden’s plan to double funding for transit and quadruple it for Amtrak rewards agencies for doing a lousy job of carrying few passengers. However, Biden’s plan earmarks funds for new Hudson River tunnels and other projects in the Northeast Corridor, which will please politicians in New York and New Jersey.

It’s about transferring wealth from individuals to the government, so government can hand it out to the politically powerful, their pet causes, and assorted interest groups.

Mr. Biden’s “real goal,” O’Toole says, “is to make as many people as possible dependent on federal largess and make them want to re-elect Democrats who will promise to keep the money flowing.”

Image Credit: Russell Sekeet, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons