Dems tout Amtrak ridership record

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“With more than a third of all Amtrak passengers riding the Northeast Corridor, it is clear that investing in this line will benefit the region’s residents and economy,” Lautenberg continued. “The continued rise in ridership underscores the urgency of getting the Gateway Tunnel built and increasing capacity for rail passengers. Amtrak continues to prove its value, and we will continue fighting to strengthen Amtrak so that it has the resources to serve even more Americans.”

Menendez agreed, saying the Amtrak ridership record “underscores not only that millions of American travelers have come to rely on rail service to live, work and play, but that a strong, well-funded Amtrak is essential to our economic future. 

“We will continue to fight to improve our national rail system – because it’s working,” Menendez said.

Republicans in the House have attacked Amtrak for being inefficient, holding hearings in the summer and fall about the cost of concession sales on the railway’s trains and the approximately $1 billion in subsidies the company has received since it was set up by Congress in 1971.

Amtrak has said it has set a new ridership record in nine out of 10 years since 2002. The previous ridership record was 30.2 million passengers in 2011.

Amtrak said last month its ridership increased 44 percent in that time frame, not counting the 2012 numbers.