This week in transportation: Water, rail and planes

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The Amtrak Northeast Corridor has been a hot topic in the House as GOP lawmakers in the lower chamber have pushed to privatize service in the region, which is Amtrak's most profitable area.

House Republicans argued at a hearing last week that competition from private companies would make Amtrak more effective.

“I intend to move forward with trying to open up all passenger rail service currently operated by Amtrak to private competition,” Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said. “[There’s] nothing more healthy than private competition.”

Amtrak officials argued that privatizing service in the northeast would impact its ability to provide rail in other parts of the country.

“One of my big worries and concerns here is that what the concept may be in reauthorization is that we can split out the northeast corridor … and then operate or not operate the rest of the country,” Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said at the House hearing. “We bring over half a million people a year into the northeast corridor from the long-distance trains. That’s 1,300 and some odd people a day.” 

While the Senate takes its turn to take up the Amtrak issue, House lawmakers will turn their attention this week to water infrastructure.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on "the foundation of a new Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)."

The panel will also hold a hearing on Tuesday on the Coast Guard's 2014 budget.

Outside of the Capitol this week, House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) will speak at an event in Washington organized by National Journal.

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