Harry James Bruce, former President of Ilinois Central Railroad -Palm Beach Gardens Letter to the Editor - TCPalm By HarryBruce Thursday, May 29, 2014
High speed passenger rail service, when justified, can be a marvelous achievement to satisfy the mobility requirements of a densely populated society. The passenger trains of Japan, England, Germany, France and Spain are outstanding examples of fast, safe, luxurious train travel.
But remember, these are all national rail operations built and operated by the respective governments to meet the societal needs of their citizens. These national train systems, as well as rail passenger trains, from the inception of rail travel, operate at a substantial deficit and require billions in tax revenue subsidies, each year, to remain safe and sound enterprises.
In All Aboard Florida we have a much different situation. The new owners of are bound and determined to fashion a “silk purse out of sow’s ear? High speed rail, when properly developed, requires original equipment manufacture and design engineering.
But what is being proposed is a retrofit, in, on and around an already extant freight railroad structure. In my opinion this is not the product of sound engineering. It is the product of uninformed entrepreneurs believing they have discovered the Rosetta Stone holding the secrets of profitability in rail passenger service.
If the hiring of top talent from the hospitality industry and the bestowing of multiple presidential titles is the elixir for a heretofore unprofitable business, then I am eager to learn and will be the first to offer congratulations and my apology.
There is just one question my fellow citizen taxpayers should ask of the AAF private enterprise executives and our government leaders. Why are you proposing to build and finance rail passenger service that has proved, worldwide, to be unsustainable as a private sector enterprise?