Amtrak ridership increases steadily
Amtrak ridership has risen for 15 months in a row, and last month marked its best January ever with 2.1 million passengers. In seven of the last eight years, it has set yearly records, and carried 28.7 million riders in fiscal year 2010.
The fast-traveling Acela Express showed a ridership increase of 9.2 percent in October through January compared to a year prior.
Officials attributed it to an improving economy, high gas prices, increased popularity of rail, and the addition of Wi-Fi internet to the Acela.
"The steady rise in ridership demonstrates a growing demand and the ongoing need for a national intercity passenger rail system," Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said in a statement. "With oil approaching $100 a barrel, we expect to continue to post strong ridership numbers as more and more people choose Amtrak to meet their transportation needs."
Vice President Joe Biden joined Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Philadelphia this week to tout a proposed $53 billion for high-speed and intercity rail service over the next six years.
But yesterday, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers listed 70 spending cuts totaling $74 billion that Republicans intend to include in an upcoming funding bill. Among the largest on the chopping block is $1 billion for high-speed rail.
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