Editorial: No to passenger train subsidies

While Oklahoma experiences budget shortfalls, some liberal Democrat legislators want to waste money on 19th century technology

Reps. Monroe Nichols and Forrest Bennett, both Democrats, want to expand subsidized passenger rail service in Oklahoma and they will host an interim legislative study in September.

Riding a train can be a nice experience but they are terribly inconvenient, they can’t charge enough to break even and Oklahoma can’t afford to increase subsidies for inefficient transportation.

Nichols and Bennett claim support from chambers of commerce, which no surprise. Chamber officials tend to love projects that they themselves don’t have to pay for and they don’t mind increasing taxes for the rest of us.

“I am encouraged that the Oklahoma City Chamber has joined the thousands of Oklahomans in support of this effort,” said study coauthor Nichols, D-Tulsa.

Nichols is worried that Oklahoma “will be left behind” without expansion of passenger rail service. This is so typical of liberal ideas – make someone else pay for an idea that won’t work financially (see Obamacare).

If you had passenger train service between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, once you reach the end of the line, you would have to rent a car, take a bus or a taxi to your final destination. That is way too expensive, inconvenient and time consuming to make it practical.

“When dyed-in-the-wool Democrats and the State Chamber come together on something, it’s a good sign that it’s a winning issue,” said interim study coauthor Bennett, D-Oklahoma City.

Actually, that’s pretty much a guarantee that it is a bad idea and that taxpayers will have to foot the bill.

The chamber and the Democrats are trying to convince rural cities that they can get free passenger service at no charge and that it will boost tourism.

If passenger service were a good idea, a private company would already offer it.