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Thursday, September 20, 2012    

Mica to host third in series of congressional hearings on Amtrak

Today, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold the third in a series of hearings on Amtrak's operations.

The focus of the hearing will be to review the national intercity passenger railroad's 41 years of federal subsidies, according to a press release from Committee Chairman John Mica's (R-Fla.) office.

The hearing "will investigate the monetary losses associated with Amtrak's operations, explore and compare Amtrak's level of federal subsidy with the subsidies provided to other modes of passenger transportation, and examine management deficiencies identified by the Amtrak Office of Inspector General," the press release states.

In its history, Amtrak has received about $40 billion in federal subsidies. Its capital and operating expenses come from operational revenue and appropriated funds. The railroad's federal subsidy is higher than federal subsidies for other transportation modes, Mica said.

According to a recent study comparing fiscal-year 2008 levels of federal subsidy by mode, aviation received $4.28 per passenger trip, mass transit received 95 cents per passenger, intercity commercial bus received 10 cents per passenger and Amtrak received $46.33 per passenger, according to Mica's office.

Scheduled to speak at today's hearing is Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman, who spoke earlier this week at the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association's (AREMA) annual conference about the railroad's plans to bolster its aging infrastructure and growth plans, despite its funding limitations. To read more about what Boardman had to say to the AREMA audience, click here.

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