Skip to comments.Is the Rail Runner running on empty? (NM - Richardson's Railroad)
Posted on 10/08/2010 12:06:04 PM PDT by CedarDave
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The New Mexico Rail Runner has been chugging through the heart of state for four years. However, it may soon face a financial train wreck. Currently the Rail Runner is supported by state and federal money. In just one year, the federal funds are set to disappear.
Currently, fares only cover about 14 percent of the operating costs. BNSF Railway and Amtrak take care of another 7 percent. Voters approved a gross receipts tax in 2008 and that money makes up 54 percent of the operating costs. The state chips in 7 percent and remaining 18 percent is covered by federal funds, for now. However, as it stands now, on July 1, 2011 the Rail Runner will not qualify for federal funds. The expected loss is $4.55 million.
The looming financial problems have not stopped the Rail Runner from spending money. In March, the Rail Runner opened the Kewa station on the land formally known as the Santo Domingo Pueblo. That new station cost taxpayers $2.5 million.
Dewey Cave, interim executive director for the Mid-Region Council of Governments, is confident the Rail Runner will either qualify again for the federal funding or that the state will kick in money to make up for the loss. The state is expected to continue to collect the federal money; it just cannot be used for the Rail Runner. There is a move to change the federal law so transportation like the Rail Runner could continue to use the money, but that remains to be seen.
(Excerpt) Read more at krqe.com ...
Two additional articles with much more on the black hole called the NM Rail Runner:
NM list PING!
(The NM list is available on my FR homepage for anyone to use. Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from the list.)
What is the subsidy per passenger for this nightmare?
About $10,500 per rider in 2009
Never fear; Willie Green will be here soon extolling the economic virtues of choo choo trains.
Maybe Richardson could turn it into a mobile gambling casino. Something like the Mississipi River boats.
Then people could go back and forth on it all day, from nowhere to nowhere.
That would be per average rider for the year - based upon further reading of the article. Each trip was subsidized to the tune of about $16.89 per ride.
Another Government subsidized rail success story for your archives.
Why doesn’t “Boxcar” Willie Green pipe up and tell us how great it is for all of us to pay for these loser boondoggles?
But the RailRunners operating costsand red inkare already above those projections. We previously reported that the RailRunners operations costs for the FY ending June 31, 2009, topped $21 million. With ticket revenues of only $1.9 million, the years operating losses exceeded $19 million. The operating costs for the current FY are now estimated at $22 million.
This state legislative report was prepared in January. Since then the train has steadily lost riders - down 10-11% from last year. At that time revenues of $1.9 million divided by costs of $21 million results in farebox recovery percentage of 9.1%. It will be worse this year -- revenues are down and costs are up. If by a miracle the revenues stay the same and estimated costs are at $22 million, the percentage is reduced to 8.6% with taxpayers picking up the remaining 91.4%. Talk about an economic boondoggle!!
Would someone please tell me what it is with Democrats and trains? No where have we ever seen these things break even. They are all running in the red. Who are they paying off? It doesn’t matter whether it’s in Dallas, Albuquerque, Houston, Seattle, Amtrak, they all lose money. A lot of money.
Does no one wonder why we are trillions of dollars in debt? This is only one example of wastefull spending. Who benefits from these trains?
Maybe we can tie Willie G and Richardson to the tracks of this money losing fiasco.
Better bring a lot of rope for fat Richardson.
They all lose money, but some are actually used - Dallas, San Diego, Denver, Portland, Sacramento and now Salt Lake City are crowded. But all those cities have a much greater population and population density than ABQ so economically it might make sense to take a reasonable percentage off the highways. All of the above are light rail (think modern trolleys) except SLC and Dallas also have commuter rail which is what the RR is. The light rail systems in Houston and Phoenix are a joke — single tracks that really don’t go where the population is (growth in both Phoenix and Houston is radial around a central core).
ABQ has its major traffic flow east (east city and East Mountain area)-west (Paradise Hills, Rio Rancho). The RR goes north-south where development density is much less due to the Indian Pueblos. It remains that the RR was a resume enhancer for Bill Richardson when he was running for president or for a cabinet post under Obama (foiled by the many scandals of his administration).
Fare only cover 14% of operating expenses!!! WTF???? Man, I can’t wait until we get those high speed trains so we can lower the operating expenses to match the fares charged.
( typical )
See my #11. It's worse than that -- down to 9% or lower.
Me thinks poor Willie might be holed up in his basement on suicide watch.
I kinda took the Orange Line to the San Diego Zoo, the train took us about a mile, where we had to catch a bus. No one had the station could tell how to purchase a transfer to the bus. On the return trip a zoo employee explained to us how to do it. A couple of years, before we walked three blocks and caught the bus and went right there.
I have rode the New York Central into NYC many times and used subway system. San Diego’s rail is understaffed and under seated.
Hey, Willie: Are your ears burning? Here’s an article just for you...
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