Republicans have argued that Amtrak's funding should be cut because it does not generate enough money from ridership to cover its operations. Amtrak has countered that its share of operations that is being covered by fares is increasing, and that its profitable Northeast service is subsidizing longer-distance routes.
Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said Amtrak's Thanksgiving ridership numbers were a reflection of the importance of the company quickly reviving its rail service in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
"Amtrak is a key element of the regional response to Sandy and it was critical for us to restore service and operate our full and expanded schedule to connect families for the holiday-and with the help of our commuter partners we did it," Boardman said in a statement.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday about the possibility of privatizing Amtrak service in the Northeast.
Boardman will be among the witnesses scheduled to testify before the committee.