Frank N. Wilner is author of six books, including, Amtrak: Past, Present, Future; Understanding the Railway Labor Act; and, Railroad Mergers: History, Analysis, Insight. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics and labor relations from Virginia Tech. He has been assistant vice president, policy, for the Association of American Railroads; a White House appointed chief of staff at the Surface Transportation Board; and director of public relations for the United Transportation Union. He is a past president of the Association of Transportation Law Professionals.
Economists call it "creative destruction," the emergence of newer, faster, cheaper and better ideas, products and processes that replace and destroy the less efficient.
Legendary Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver etched his illustrious baseball career and winning record with the three-run homer. Were Amtrak a Major League Baseball team, its success would be measured, instead, by infield hits. But Amtrak may have hit one long ball this week when new House Rail Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) conceded that Amtrak passenger service on the Northeast Corridor and on state-supported corridors is profitable and efficient.
Let's get real about President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 and beyond budget recommendations to Congress. They’re street theater, and one might just as well be entertained viewing Gucci-clad Washington lobbyists intermingling with Capitol Hill tourists outfitted in spandex and plaid-pattern polyester.
Conservative columnist and American Enterprise scholar Michael Barone, with degrees from Harvard and Yale, is a smart fellow. But a recent column about Amtrak suggests his research consisted of wandering into the posh Capitol Grill in Washington, D.C., and sitting at Amtrak baiter-in-chief Rep. John Mica's luncheon table, absorbing Mica's jihad against publicly funded intercity rail passenger service.
One clause in a single sentence in President Obama's second inaugural speech has potential for meaningful consequences: "Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce."
Even The New York Times, the nation’s newspaper of record, missed, in its lengthy obituary, the absorbing connection between railroads and former Republican Sen. Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, who died Nov. 19 at age 82.