Amtrak to surpass 30 million passengers for the first time

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"We are having a very strong year because people around the country are choosing the convenience, efficiency and hassle-free environment of Amtrak to meet their travel needs," Amtrak President Joe Boardman said in a statement. "Amtrak has wisely invested the federal funding we have received to improve infrastructure and equipment. Continued investment in Amtrak and passenger rail will support the further growth of this increasingly vital transportation option."

The news comes amid an ongoing debate in Washington about privatizing rail service in the northeast, which is home to Amtrak's most popular routes.

Republicans in the House argue that private companies could develop and maintain high-speed rail better than Amtrak, which owns the tracks in the region. The company has countered that it has a plan for increasing the speed of its Acela trains and developing more high-speed rail.