This week in transportation: GOP rails against Amtrak subsidies

House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) has frequently called for privatizing rail service in Amtrak’s most profitable corridor, the northeast U.S. He said during the hearing last week that the company, which he has often referred to as a "Soviet-style operation," should "get out of the passenger rail business."  

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Prior to the congressional recess, Mica focused his criticism of Amtrak on the cost of its onboard concession program. The campaign against the railway, which coincided with Mica's re-election campaign, included a memorable trip to a McDonald’s near Capitol Hill to demonstrate that fast-food burgers cost less than Amtrak's.

Elsewhere, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing Thursday about online furniture moving companies. The hearing, titled "Taking Consumers for a Ride: Business Practices in the Household Goods Moving Industry" will focus on quotes given by online moving companies that are significantly lower than the final cost to deliver furniture. 

“Far too many consumers are duped by abusive moving companies in tactics that should be, and in some cases are, against the law,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), the panel’s chairman. 

“Companies that take advantage of Americans during moves, whether they are across the country or across town, must be held accountable. That’s the purpose of this hearing,” Rockefeller said.