Audit: Rail service expansion funding in question

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Sqweebie Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 31, 2012 12:51 a.m.

    to: utahboni

    I'm waiting for someone to fall and seriously get hurt because they were on their way to a seat. I hope they sue the pants and shirts off the driver and UTA. I have lived in other parts of the country where is it against federal law for a bus to move from a bus stop until the person is seated or if all seats are full holding on to a belt or what ever they are called. Also they are not suppose to move the bus when the person is on the front side of the white line on the bus.

    Also it would be nice if the buses arrived early instead of late. To be late is rude. Other places have it to be at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before it's due. Here you can arrive at the bus stop 10 minutes late and still catch it.

  • Z South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 30, 2012 4:23 p.m.

    Just to clarify a point:

    FrontRunner and Trax are a public transit system, partially subsidized (as are all public transit systems) by tax dollars.

    Freight trains are run by private-sector companies like Union Pacific. Other than the land grants and government subsidies that were given in the 19th century to promote expansion of the railroads to the western United States, there is not any government involvment in the running of freight trains. No freight, no money.

  • Sqweebie Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 29, 2012 7:31 p.m.

    Front runner was and is a bad idea. A lot of people don't use it because it cost too much. Here's a thought have trax go to Ogden(keeping the stops where they are) and points north as well as to Provo - it's cheaper and I for one would definitely ride often and I think a lot of other people would to.

    Would love to see more buses going to the ski resorts/Park City and Tooele more often.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 1:34 p.m.

    Now you know why the voters, not once but twice, voted to not have this rail system--it is, and will be in the future, an increasing tax burden. And this burden falls upon people whom the great majority will never ride on this little socialist project.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Jan. 27, 2012 11:53 a.m.

    Don't know why the naysayers feel like they do but I LOVE UTA!

    I love the buses, Trax and FrontRunner. Having lived in many cities with awesome subway/rail systems, at least its the next best thing.

    They have saved me tons of money and inconvenience.

    Having the Trax Airport to ski resorts connection will increase usage.

    As will the Trax Airport to Provo connection (instead of the bus from airport component).
    It will greatly increase convenience and greatly shorten travel time.

    Can't wait!

    And once again, as with any story about UTA (having already requested it directly to UTA personally) please oh please add bus service from Cache Valley/Logan to Brigham City (to connect to bus from Brigham toFrontRunner.)

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 10:21 a.m.

    @LiberalTed and others: If you think the gas tax covers road construction costs etc you are horribly mistaken and need a serious reality check. Here in Utah the Legislature earmarked 30% of general sales tax for road construction costs, and we have more money coming from other places in the state budget, and huge federal subsidies as well.

    Even if the gas tax were $3 a gallon it would not cover the cost of roads.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Jan. 27, 2012 9:09 a.m.

    Liberal Ted, thanks for the condescension. I see no point in discussing with you. It's fine to have differing opinions, encouraged actually. It's not acceptable for you to resort to name calling and derogatory comments to try to aid your argument. It in fact diminished the argument and, more importantly, you.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 8:47 a.m.

    TRAX is the jewel of the system. Buses are unpleasant, slow and lumbering. Frontrunner has been built well in advance of demand.

  • utahboni Ogden, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 7:57 a.m.

    Liberal Ted, it is not 10 cars. Your math is off. Around 4000 people per day ride the FrontRunner. Each train that runs during the rush hour has about 200 people on it, so that's about 1200 cars that aren't trying to get through the Woodscross bottleneck during rush hour.

  • utahboni Ogden, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 7:18 a.m.

    I think the main impediment to using mass transit is a mindset that began to set in during the 60's. That is, that mass transit is something that only homeless or financially destitute people use. I ride the FrontRunner to Salt Lake every day because I'm at an age where after my morning commute and working all day, I'm very drowsy on my way home. Now that people have to work until they're almost 70, I would think that a lot more people my age would be on the train for the same reason, but not so.

    One of the hardest things I had to adjust to when I started using mass transit is that some of UTA employees have this same attitude. They are really disdainful and rude to the riders. Some bus drivers are very nice, but others are surly and spiteful towards the riders. They stomp on the gas or brake causing people who haven't reached their seat yet to stumble or fall. They park the bus a long way from the train platform, etc.

    The trains and busses might be more successful if UTA attitude checked their employees.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 7:08 a.m.

    mark | 2:19 p.m. Jan. 26, 2012
    Salt Lake City, UT

    My poor misinformed mark. Where do you think the money comes from for the roads? I'll give you a clue. It's not from people riding trax, buses, or biking. I'll give you another clue. Vehicles pay taxes at the pump. What the vehicle uses, they pay taxes for that consumption. Those taxes are then used to build roads, bike lanes, subsidize buses and trax. Trax (which is an "evil" private company) gets funding from sales taxes. Because trax receives subsidies to function, they lower the cost for ridership and advertise that they are soo friendly to the environment and the wallet. People like you believe it's efficient. So what happens when everyone rides trax? They lose money that subsidizes them. They'll have to raise ticket fares. And then the feds will come in and subsidize those riders that struggle with food stamps, which is paid for people that actually work. 50% of this country is on some form of welfare. That is not sustainable.

    The solution is to have trax riders pay their fair share. Let them know the pain working people are going through.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 6:57 a.m.

    @ Claudio | 12:12 p.m. Jan. 26, 2012
    Springville, Ut

    @mark | 2:19 p.m. Jan. 26, 2012
    Salt Lake City, UT

    Cars already pay for what they use and consume. That's why when you go to a gas station and pump gas, you pay another 75 cents to cover the costs for roads. Those roads are built using tax money from the pump, which in turn that money is used to build bike lanes. Which bicyclists do not pay for. It's free for them and costs drivers more to provide it. Then for trax they tack on taxes to our purchases at the stores. That money funds trax. Trax cannot survive on it's own. Trax is a private company funded with taxdollars. Trax riders do not pay their fair share. Raise the rates of trax and the buses to cover the true cost of operating the system.

    Of course neither one of you would think this is fair, since you'd actually have to support yourselves. Something the left has a hard time comprehending.

    And no, for the 10 cars the train removes from the road during my commute, it's not worth it to me. Not at all.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 27, 2012 5:19 a.m.

    Duckhunter - my point of reference is a good friend of mine who is now passed that was on the board that set this stuff up. He was Howard Rigtrup. He was as conservative as anyone here without going to the silly extremes, and he and I locked horns on policy more than once. He was absolutely the kind of person that never would spend one more tax dollar than was absolutely necessary. Hi lived modestly, took care of his family, and served the church faithfully his whole life.

    If you are proposing that people like him and those that served on that board were somehow building this system as some kind of power play for personal promotion, you really don't know these people. There was no covert plan to build a system for their own personal gain.

    I do think there needs to be some review of the performance of the management teams to any administrative entity like the UTA or transit authorities. Manytimes we don't get the best managers because there is little incentive to operate at a high level of performance. But this is more a function of paying too little rather than too much.

  • Prodicus Provo, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 2:15 a.m.

    So many people who say mass transit and even freight trains are unpractical and don't deserve support.

    Yet these same people think nothing of the Legislature earmarking 30 percent of the state's tax revenue for roads and they ignore all the huge federal subsidies that go into our road system.

    You can't have it both ways on infrastructure spending. If all transportation subsidies were dropped and users bore the full cost of their transportation, I have no doubt people would be selling off their cars and returning to rail.

    Rail is simply a much more efficient way to move people and goods than highways, cars, and trucks. This is undeniable from physics, engineering, and economic standpoints.

    The tremendously vast subsidies and spending on highway construction and maintenance, a total unwillingness to put any road costs on the actual road users (a considerably higher gas tax would be an effective way of doing so and is highly encouraged even by conservative economists like Mankiw but would be political suicide), and a culture where the illusion of control given by driving everywhere with only one person per car is overvalued make people think it's trains which are impractical. Ridiculous.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 12:15 a.m.

    Actually, Duck Hunter, I was responding to Liberal Ted who said, "It's much better if people just pay for what they use and consume." Clearly that statement would apply to services such as fire and police, requiring that only people that utilize those services pay for them.

    I understand the importance have having both fire and police services provided by a community for a community; I also, though, understand the importance of having public transportation also.

    You said, "As long as there are roads everyone can use them." And everyone can use public transportation, what's your point?

    "UTA has always been a net negative for the tax payers of the state. It has always needed to be subsidized, the users do not cover the cost, not anywhere close. . ." And UDOT has always been a net negative for taxpayers. The roads also have to be heavily subsidized, and always will have to be. Again, What's your point?

    What are you basing your criticism of the "managers" of UTA on: that they are expanding their "fiefdom" only to justify their jobs? What are you basing this conspiracy theory on? Please be specific and use evidence.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    Jan. 26, 2012 9:08 p.m.

    Utah's headache is nothing compared to the Jerry Brown-Barack Obama 219Billion dollar Bullet train to no where plan in California! 219 Billion dollars not, by the time its done lets say 400 Billion dollars and the trains are made in China! Mass transit does not work! Utah residents will be subsidizing that system to as the Feds are kicking in 40 Billion mininum! Thanks to all of us little guys who will be paying for both systems and all others until we die!

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 8:14 p.m.


    Of course I never said it is "only" that but if you are trying to pretend that managers of a hugely cost inefficient transit system, that are actively trying to expand that system to an even greater level of cost inefficiency, are doing it for simply what they consider to be the public good then you are more than a bit naive.

    Perhaps you know something that the auditors of UTA and the rest of us don't? Maybe you can enlighten us with that knowledge as I'd surely like to know how a dangerous, expensive, and inefficient system that requires heavy subsidizing from the tax payers is improving the quality of life in Utah.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    Jan. 26, 2012 7:57 p.m.

    Back in the early 1980's when ideas were being developed to create rail mass transit in Utah it was known then that mass transit is not cost effective. But still it was kind of sexy to look like a big city so forward went the plans. Even though mass transit systems in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago were bleeding money! In Chicago, for example 37% of the population uses mass transit and it is still subsidized! The same is true for the other cities too. Even high density or a spike in ridership won't be enough.

    The system has been flawed since it was designed. The wrong design using the I-15 corridor was suggested in one of the plans and it was used. The problem is this. Most people still have to get in a car to get to the train or on a bus and go through the hassle of transferring. Not customer friendly. It should have been a silent system above ground going through the qausi-neighborhoods where people are (above ground). Profitable systems are neighborhood based, but politicians took the easy way out!

    Now Utah is stuck with a money sucking system!

  • twinkleberry67 Layton, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 7:38 p.m.

    Funding in question?
    Isn't the question more like when and by how much the fares and property taxes are going to go up?
    Also, isn't the question how much of this raise is going towards another bonus?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 26, 2012 7:23 p.m.

    "Uninformed Masses".

    You have to love statements like this. The concept that mass transit is only a vehicle for people to hunker in some tax payer job looks and feels like the typical Lets blame someone and say they are lazier than me. I don't know what the management of UTA gets, I don't know who that compares to peer professionals doing like jobs. But the idea that these must be lazy people with do nothing jobs just doesn't seem to resonate on the truth meter.

    The economics of mass transit are always long term. San Jose California put their mass transit through an area that was depressed or grossly underutilized. After 20 years those same areas area back alive or have new development and business along them. Businesses grew along these corridors.

    Three percent is also a false number. 100 percent of Utahns doen't drive to work every day. At least half don't. So now your three percent of people become at least 6 percent of workers. Then you look at the areas it serves, and those percentages go up. 3 percent don't use the airport, but it is a valuable asset.

  • Munk Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 6:23 p.m.

    Let's see why this is a problem...

    1) Riders not paying or abusing the system because the UTA police can't fully enforce
    2) Lawsuits from the families of people who got squished. Funny that nationally we have some of the highest accident ratings involving trains but with almost no fault found to the operator. Yet, UTA settles a lot out of court among other things. I am sorry... if someone is wearing headphones and not paying attention while walking AROUND a railroad warning arm... umm... so UTA ends up paying why?
    3) Not enough incentive. This one can be discussed over and over till the cows come home...

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 5:43 p.m.


    Those things are not comparable. Fire and Law Enforcement are not items that people can do for themselves nor are there any other alternatives to them. They are basicly insurance policies. Transportation is different. Most of us can either walk, ride a bike, or drive. As long as there are roads everyone can use them.

    UTA has always been a net negative for the tax payers of the state. It has always needed to be subsidized, the users do not cover the cost, not anywhere close, and it will always need to be subsidized. The executives make huge salaries, and since they are pseudo bureaucrats, they justify their jobs by continually expanding their fiefdom. In otherwords they want to build all sorts of hugely expensive transportation systems, that cost so much that shutting them down would be considered a huge waste by the uniformed masses, and guaranty themselves lucrative employment until they settle into an even more confortable tax payer provided retirement.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 2:19 p.m.

    "Here's an idea. Have the riders pay their "fair" share of the fee. Instead of subsidizing it with taxpayer dollars and tacking it on student "fees". It's time that the people who want it and use it, pay their fair share for it!"

    So Liberal Ted, the same should be done for the roads then also. You are gonna love it when every single road is a toll road, including that one right in front of your house. And we will no longer subsidize oil, so of course the price of gasoline will go up, and with it food costs.

    We are only paying for what we use? So, of course, only people that have a fire in their house should pay for the fighting of that fire. Oh wee, that's going to be expensive when you have a room and contents fire.

    You need the cops? Dig deep.

  • plyxply SLC, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 2:01 p.m.

    Is the UTA running the Canyons School District, or is the Canyons School Board runnin the UTA? Equal incompetence by both, and both are a major waste of taxpayer dollars.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 1:54 p.m.

    MY prediction: UTA will come to the taxpayers and want a higher sales tax in order to keep the trains running, or they will park them.

    There will BE NO TALK of re-organizing themselves or correcting past mistakes.

    They'll just tell taxpayers they NEED TO PAY more!

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 1:45 p.m.

    UTA has the best of both worlds.

    They receive direct taxpayer funding, yet they get little (if any)oversight by elected officials or other government agencies.

    That sort of system just INVITES trouble.

    We see here that they have been "audited". By the structure of UTA they need not take any steps to eliminate the problem, or for that matter even bother to read the audit!
    They answer to NO ONE!

    They have an appointed "board" (read: "rubber stamp" citizens committee).

    UTA made major mistakes in assuming if they build more and more rail lines, that people will ride them.
    Now they refuse to take responsibility for their mistakes.

    Either change the WHOLE TOP MANAGEMENT of UTA, or put them under UDOT, (a natural fit), or privatize them.

    Any of these things would be better than continuing to let UTA have 275 million per year of our tax dollars.

    MUCH money is being wasted at that agency. They need more comprehensive oversight.

    The "liquor" scandal is nothing compared to the amounts being lost at a VERY INEFFICIENT UTA.

    Jan. 26, 2012 1:29 p.m.

    You can't use mass transit in thes state of Utah, it is not setup properly, and you have to wait way to long for a bus or train, unlike some of the bigger cities where they are consistent for the most part, you can miss one and another will come along in about 10 to 15 mins, not 30 to 60 mins.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 26, 2012 12:16 p.m.

    YOu have two choices. You can wait until you have the densities are high enough to justify mass transportation, or, you can wait for densities get high enough and they try to build your system after the fact. What would cost 2.4 billion now would cost multiples of that number if you wait.

    Lets take sewer lines as another example. Many years ago people were happy as clams with septic systems. Then came along public sewer services. None of that investment was self funding. If that would have been a criteria, we would be living in a far different place. Business in Utah would have been stunted by its "desirability".

    Salt Lake is moving on to the next phase of being a real metropolis. Today, ridership may be only 3%. But even this number exceeds original forecast. Companies are moving to Utah because basic services are being invested in. There is no one to one coorilation.

    But those of you who want projects to be self funding, most of your highways in Utah were built with Federal subsidies. They would not meet your litmus test. People with vision are planning so Utah stays a livable place.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 12:12 p.m.

    When UTA got this stimulus construction money and they jumped at the bit to get it. I believe the transportation commission and the UTA high salary people need to be supervised more from the various state and federal auditors on the potential for waste of federal funds constributed. You should not be building something that the UTA cannot afford to run or cost effective. Is the Front Runner really effective use of money. I rode UTA buses for 7 years and our express bus was always fully utilized. However, since the various rail services have been in place, and now expanding and bus service has been cut back, has there been an effective audit on the use and cost effectiveness of the operations? Did the legislature look at UTA's system and think that they got the stimulus money to build and not about the operations after it was constructed? When I would go to the airport, I would take the bus to downtown SLC then catch another bus to the airport. After 9/11 I would have to leave 3 hours earlier to get to the airport with 1 1/2 hours which is 3 times longer than driving

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Jan. 26, 2012 12:12 p.m.

    FrontRunner does not impede traffic unless there is a high number of ranchers trying to cross the road. Look at the proposed routes. That argument is wrong.

    Yes, Corn Dog, you're right it would be self-serving...and my explanation would be wrong if I were to be the only person on the unit. As I said, in case you missed it, the system needs to reach areas that would justify its service (i.e. connecting UT and SLC counties, the area where there is the largest concentration of people in the state is along this corridor (and this would benefit quite a large number of folks who commute to SLC for work from the Provo/Orem area), and the airport, like most commuter rail systems in the country).

    Vidar, I was referring to FrontRunner, not Trax. Whole different story.

    And Liberal Ted, I have no problem paying a fair share. I wasn't opposed to that at all if you look at my post. I was merely pointing out that those who would stay strictly on the roads would in fact benefit if more people took mass transit. Therefore, I don't think ONLY those who use it should pay.

  • RED23 Head in the Clouds, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 12:04 p.m.

    Yes, there have been Trax and FrontRunner accidents, and have any of the recent accidents been the fault of the train? People are too busy being caught up in their own little world that they miss the flashing lights, lowering arm, and ringing of bells at the crossing.
    Take all of those people off of FrontRunner and put them back on I-15 in Davis County, then start talking about congestion reduction...

  • Corn Dog New York, NY
    Jan. 26, 2012 11:44 a.m.

    @Claudio 10:33 a.m.

    "those who use the roads would be relieved of one less driver and one less potential accident causing car. It makes perfect sense that those who use the roads would also be in favor of mass transit, and thus help pay for it."

    Besides being self-serving, your explanation is wrong.

    In the Salt Lake Valley, just over 3% of commuters use mass transit. That's not enough to reduce pollution or congestion, especially is you, like other transit users, drive to the train or bus parking lots. Trains like FrontRunner and Trax however impede traffic flow (especially emergency vehicles) and interfere with signal timing designed to speed traffic flow where they intersect roads. Those things in no way justify the huge subsidies (50-90%) provided by the taxpayers. Mass transit and it's users are liabilities to the community, not assets.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    Claudio | 10:33 a.m. Jan. 26, 2012

    it does not seem that trax reduces accidents, or congestion in anyway.
    Everyone has to stop while it goes through which often takes several minutes.
    There has been many accidents, and deaths with trax trains.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 11:08 a.m.

    @ Claudio | 10:33 a.m. Jan. 26, 2012
    Springville, Ut

    Your wrong. Everytime I'm stopped behind the railroad arms, that is holding up traffic, I think how much exhaust that train is costing society.

    Yes it is fair for people who ride the train or buses to pay for that service. Just think you get wi-fi and can read. Something drivers cannot do.

    It's much better if people just pay for what they use and consume. It is also fair to expect people to go to work and make their own living and to not live off of taxpayers.

    that is common sense. That will save budgets. That will put us on the right road or rail.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Jan. 26, 2012 10:58 a.m.

    @county mom

    You're exactly right...the reason our mass transit isn't effective is because nobody uses it. And why does nobody use it? It's too expensive!

    The cost savings (if there are any) are offset by the fact that a Trax ride will take you an hour, while you could drive it in 15 minutes.

    Look at the best public transportation systems in the world (New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Buenos Aires, etc.) and what do they have in common? Fares are low compared to other options, and it gets you there faster than driving. That's why millions of people ride them every day.

    In contrast, UTA expects that they can offer an inferior product at a higher price and people will flock to it.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 10:54 a.m.

    Here's an idea. Have the riders pay their "fair" share of the fee. Instead of subsidizing it with taxpayer dollars and tacking it on student "fees". It's time that the people who want it and use it, pay their fair share for it!

    That sounds like another radical right wing thought, but, it does make sense. As the president would say, "common sense".

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    UTA projects should be driven by economic factors, and as long as they are self sustaining, that is great. Raise the fares as needed, keeping in mind that a point of diminishing returns can be reached which will cut ridership, so a careful balance is needed.

    Any support for UTA based on flimsy "green- save the planent" claims should be totally ignored when deciding to build, operate, or cease any UTA routes or operations.

    As with any government entity, there probably are too many high ranking people in the organization, and some of those too highly paid. However, you need some really smart, experienced, hard working folks to make the best decisions. They guys who could not make aprofit selling alcohol in the DABC are probalby not the types of folks you want running UTA, even if they would work for less than the current leadership.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Jan. 26, 2012 10:33 a.m.

    Extend it to Provo and the airport and you'll see a spike in usage. I would love to go to school in SLC and take the FrontRunner down to Provo on the weekends to see friends and family, much safer and more convenient than driving. It would allow me to read or do homework thanks to the wi-fi in the trains, thus making my time more productive.

    To the individual saying that only those who use it should pay for it, that's not really fair. If I use mass transit, it reduces the traffic on the roads. Thus, those who use the roads would be relieved of one less driver and one less potential accident causing car. It makes perfect sense that those who use the roads would also be in favor of mass transit, and thus help pay for it.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 10:33 a.m.

    " roads are paid for by only those who use them. "

    " This is what is wrong with our economy, keeping trains going when there is not enough of that kind of freight,"

    Sorry, Country Mom, you obviously don't know what you are talking about.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 10:19 a.m.

    would have been better to have bought a bunch of minivans, and provided public transportation that way.
    Do not know how many big buses I see driving around with no one in them.
    I would take public transport if it did not take 2 1/2 to 3 hours, to get to work with it.
    driving it takes me 15-20 minutes.
    Trax has been nice in some ways, but there are not enough people that use it regularly, and there seems to be a trax accident every week.

  • plyxply SLC, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 9:48 a.m.

    There is no justification for about half of what the UTA does, starting with the inflated salaries of the people at the top of the pyramid.
    The legislature needs to do something about their out of control spending and irresponsible handling of construction and spending.
    I'd much rather we spend the UTA budget on education where there is an actual justified need for it. The UTA is just another example of over-sized, over-budgeted government.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 9:34 a.m.

    Mass transit is only cost effective if the masses use it! Like trains and every other huge bulk movement of goods or people it has to have massive amounts of goods, and/or people to justify the huge costs of the engines, rails, equipment, fuel, initial startup costs and wages. All these huge expences are paid for by the taxpayers. Yes, you are subsidising freight trains, as well as the light rail systems. Semi-tractor trailers and cars are paid for only by the people that own them and roads are paid for by only those who use them. Buses, trains and light rail should be paid for by only those who use them! This is what is wrong with our economy, keeping trains going when there is not enough of that kind of freight, keeping and adding to transit systems that are not used enough, and paying for to much government. If you want the light rail system you should use it.