Ignoring costs completely isn't being non political, even if most of you think so.
For example, looking at the data posted previously, just to air this issue.
Just looking at the regional ridership gains projected earlier.
Midwestern gains = passengers
3,800,000 - 815,290 = 2,984,710
Northeastern gains = passengers
20,300,000 - 7,200,000 = 13,100,000
California gains = passengers.
5,800,000 - 1,100,000 = 4,700,000
Total projected gains in ridership = 20,784,710
Considering Amtrak's total yearly ridership is around 30,000,000 today, that's a significant increase.
But, to rub salt into the wounds, or twist the knife in the taxpayers back.....
Amtrak subsidizes on average $5 on every passenger NEC regional ticket today. Assuming the same subsidy will be required in the future for corridor services nationally, that's an additional $104 Million in yearly subsidy.
20,784,710 x $5 = $103,923,550
Source of $5 per ticket subsidy for NEC Regional trains
That's being very generous, I doubt MidWestern and California per passenger subsidy will ever be that low. Non NEC Amtrak trains subsidy are averaging $32 per ticket today. I'm not even going to calculate what the additional subsidy would be at $32 subsidy exactly, but it should be around 6 times larger.
That's an additional $104 Million per year subsidy each and every year from additional ridership at today's money value. That's right, when you're losing money on every passenger, having more passengers mean you're losing even more money.
While some may think increasing infrastructure is always a great idea, no matter the costs, some of us think infrastructure should at least maintain the status quo within the existing subsidy and budgets.
We're already running record deficits. You can't keep increasing the budgets of all agencies in today's dollars. For some agencies to gain, some must lose. The Federal budget is finite. The pie or cake is only so large. We can't agree Amtrak should get a bigger slice because we can't agree which agency should get a smaller slice. Some of us think Amtrak should be amongst the agencies getting that smaller slice.
And really, how many passengers would Amtrak lose if they raised all NEC regional fares $5, or long distance fares $32, so they shouldn't even need a yearly subsidy?