Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rail Lessons from Greece

  • Losses at Hellenic Railways continue to mount — at the rate of $3.8 million, a day. Its total debt has increased to $13 billion, or about 5% of Greece’s gross domestic product.
In comparison, the proposed rail for Oahu is 400% the annual amount of Oahu's CIP budget.
  • Some have argued that Hellenic Railways should shut down the majority of its routes; trains manned by drivers being paid as much as $130,000 a year frequently run empty.
Outside multimillion population cities in the U.S., metro rail systems run basically empty except for a couple of hours around the AM and PM commute times. Typical U.S. Transit Authority managers are paid $250,000 to $400,000 annual salaries.
  • The general secretary for the Greek Transport Ministry, contends that the government’s plan to close at least 35 loss-making routes and cut 2,500 jobs will make Hellenic Railways attractive to foreign investors.
But the former transportation minister responded: "I said I was not going to privatize Hellenic Railways because I knew I couldn’t find an investor silly enough to invest in a company with so much debt.”

How many investors have "Mufi Hannemann and the Pro-Railers" found?

Zero investors but thousands of payers! The 400,000 Oahu taxpayers!

Source: All bullets excerpted from New York Times' Greek Rail System’s Debt Adds to Economic Woes.