Amtrak: Ridership increased in first half of 2013 fiscal year

Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said the early 2013 ridership numbers showed the need for more rail funding from Congress.

“The continued ridership growth on routes across the country reinforces the need for dedicated, multi-year federal operating and capital funding to support existing intercity passenger rail services and the development of new ones,” Boardman said in a statement.

The ridership announcement comes just days ahead of a House hearing on Amtrak’s 2014 budget.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s rail subcommittee will meet Thursday to begin consideration of Amtrak’s funding.

The meeting has been cast as the first step toward the passage of a new Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA), which is scheduled to expire in September.

The PRIIA bill contains authorization for Amtrak’s funding as well as money for development of other long-distance railways.