WASHINGTON, D.C.—For more than a century, intercity passenger rail has been the backbone of our transportation network, capably moving people throughout our nation to drive economic growth. And for more than four decades, Amtrak has been our one and only national intercity passenger rail carrier—which Congress created to make this essential function continue when other railroads were shedding their passenger rail operations.
Since it was created in 1970, Amtrak has had a somewhat tortured history, being forced to survive on anemic budgets and whipsawed by near constant political micro management. And yet, impressively, it continues do much more than just chug along. In fact, this year, Amtrak is expected to again reach record-ridership levels with more than 30 million people taking the train.