I don't really understand how this happened. Earlier this year, the state of Vermont had plans to buy three diesel-multiple-unit railcars from Colorado Railcar, with very good financing from the FRA. The railcars were estimated to save Vermont so much that the operating costs plus the loan payments would be cheaper than running the Vermonter with the current equipment.
In June, the Governor suddenly backed off the deal, apparently because they couldn't return the railcars for 90% of the price if they weren't satisfied. Now word is that the state is considering suspending the $5 million a year that it budgets to subsidize the service.
With all the wild figures that have been floating around over the past few months, somehow $5 million a year seems like a really tiny amount. Especially when we're talking about rail service for an entire state. And of course it's exactly the wrong direction to be going in; at this time the price of gas and jet fuel may be low, but we don't want to count on that. I'll write more about this later.