Todays New York Times has an article about the federal government's Essential Air Service, which spends $100 million a year on subsidies to small airports, spending on average a hundred dollars per passenger. One such airport is in Plattsburgh, NY. Never mind that Plattsburgh is 30 miles from Burlington, VT, and 65 miles from Dorval. The military spent a huge amount of money converting an old base into a commercial airport (with free parking!) to "revitalize" the local economy, after lobbying by Senators Clinton and Schumer.
Imagine if the government had taken all that money and spent it on upgrading the train tracks between Albany and Montreal that pass through Plattsburgh? Could they convert them to continuous welded rail, and shave a significant amount of time off the route? Could they improve signaling? Add a spur to Albany Airport? How much more tourist traffic would come through Plattsburgh to the Adirondacks?