Amtrak wants $7 billion to transform Washington D.C.’s Union Station and double the number of trains at its second-busiest station in the country. Amtrak loses money every year despite having a virtual monopoly on train travel in the US.
There’s just one problem: Amtrak has no idea where it will get the $7 million it wants.
According to the Washington Post, the proposal lacks “a vision for financing the plan, which even in stages probably would require huge government funding commitments.”
Amtrak wants six tracks dedicated to high-speed rail that would shorten the time it takes to get from Washington, D.C. to New York City’s Penn Station by an hour. The proposed first phase of the project, which would take place between 2013 and 2017, would, according to the plan, cost $200 million to $300 million.
But as the Post notes, “Amtrak and its partners have said little about how to raise the $6.5 billion to $7.5 billion it estimates the upgrades would cost.” There has even been some talk of taxing various economic activity at Union Station to raise funds to fund the expansion project.