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Congress Should Link Amtrak's Generous Subsidy to Improved Performance

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Publication Date: September 2007

Publisher(s): Heritage Foundation (Washington, D.C.)

Author(s): Ronald D. Utt

Series: Backgrounder

Topic: Transportation (Railroads and trains)

Keywords: Budget; Amtrak subsidy; Acela; green transportation

Type: Report

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

Amtrak fails to fill half of its seats on any given day, and ridership has remained largely unchanged since 2005, yet Amtrak receives the highest federal subsidy of all modes of transportation: $210.31 per passenger per 1,000 miles. Congress should cap Amtrak's subsidy at $900 million for FY 2008 and condition future subsidies on steady improvement in Amtrak's ridership.