The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected a bill that would have eliminated $1.1 billion in federal subsidies for Amtrak, the quasi-public national passenger railroad corporation.
The Hill reported September 6, 2017 that an Amtrak-killing amendment submitted by Rep. (R-Ala.) to a government spending package was soundly defeated by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
Brooks contended that Americans who don’t use Amtrak should not be forced to subsidized those who do, and said that Amtrak riders should be compelled to pay the full cost of rail travel.
The measure was defeated on a 128-293 vote.
Amtrak’s new president and CEO Richard Anderson, a former airline executive, told CBS News that Amtrak provides a critical service to commuters in regions like New York, where the railroad recently wrapped up a months-long infrastructure project at Penn Station
U.S. highways and air transport also receive large government subsidies, he noted.
Anderson said that while Amtrak is likely to remain behind other countries in terms of creating a extensive high-speed rail network, the railroad is upgrading its popular Acela high-speed service in the Northeast Corridor, adding new train sets that will increase capacity by 40 per cent. That would mean Acela service operating between Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., every half-hour.
Amtrak also has decided against reducing the amount of space between rows of seats to squeeze more seating into its Coach class trains, Anderson said.