Rail and Health Care


Well the election is over and now the real works begins. There are two major issues right up front that has a lot of people talking, the Obama Health Care plan and Wisconsin High Speed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee.

I really hope that the Republicans are not successful in scraping the health care plan completely, there are a number of good things in that plan and should not be removed. Such as no denial for pre-existing conditions, coverage until the age of 26, provide subsidies and incentives that encourage uninsured individuals to buy, and small businesses to provide, health insurance. Yet ideas like  individual mandates, the “Cadillac” tax and other poorly thought out ideas should be ditched.

We need to provide health coverage for those who are currently uninsured, it must be made affordable for them but we also must not punish companies and individuals who already provide or have insurance like so much of the current plan does.

DO NOT scrape the plan 100% Republicans it has a good base, just fix the plan so it is fair for ALL Americans.

As for the high-speed rail in Wisconsin, go ahead with the project. While it will create mostly temporary jobs, 4700, to build the line for two years, it will eventually provide 55 permanent jobs to maintain. The money earmarked for this project is  money that Obama is going to spend one way or another, either in this state or some other state.

The real question is after it is built how much money will be needed from  Wisconsin taxpayers to subsidize this line, that is question being asked by conservatives.

After the novelty wears off, ridership will drop and they will need more subsidies to keep the lane running. In 2008 U.S. taxpayers spent about $32 subsidizing the cost of the typical Amtrak passenger. Forty-one of Amtrak’s 44 routes lost money in 2008. The more heavily utilized Northeast Regional lost almost $5 per passenger.

More recent numbers do show that Amtrak ridership reached 28,716,857 in the 2010 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 and collected a record $1,742,991,134 in ticket revenue. But also that AMTRAK asked for $1.84B ($303M more than last year) – and got $1.58B ($90M more than last year – a 19% increase.)

So they had sales of $1.7 billion and yet needed $1.84 in subsides…….but yet we keep hearing that this is going to be a great thing for Wisconsin! It could be IF they have a way to make it profitable and not have their whole existence based on taxpayer money.

If I were a betting man I would say this project will go through, there is going to be all kind of grandstanding but it will get done. The money that will be used cannot go to road infrastructure like Walker wants and it cannot be used to pay down our debt like Johnson wants, this money is for HS rail and HS rail only.

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Posted on November 6, 2010, in America and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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