Romney vows in Iowa to cut Amtrak funding as president

"Money that my generation will never pay for, that will be passed on to my kids and my grandkids? Is it that important?” Romney was reported to have said.

Romney, who has consistently been shown in polls as being at or near the top of the primary field, has targeted Amtrak before. In an op-ed in the early primary state of New Hampshire's Union Leader newspaper this fall, Romney called Amtrak "a classic example" of "functions that the private sector can perform better than the public sector."

Republicans in Congress have pushed to privatize Amtrak service in its most profitable region, the Northeast, arguing that private businesses could deliver high-speed rail faster than Amtrak could increase the speed of its Acela trains between Washington and Boston.

Amtrak, which is a government-owned corporation that is subsidized by Congress, currently receives subsidies from the federal government for service.