Boardman: Amtrak ‘provided a high return on the limited Federal investment’

An Amtrak train pulls into Winter Park, Fla., on Feb. 11, 2012. (Photo by Todd DeFeo / (c) 2012)

WASHINGTON — Amtrak “has provided a high return on the limited Federal investment we’ve received,” Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman told Congress.

“[P]assenger rail has received only a tiny portion of the annual Federal transportation budget,” Boardman said in his written testimony. “To give just one example, in the past four years the Federal government has appropriated $53.3 billion from the General Fund of the Treasury to bail out the Highway Trust Fund. That’s almost 30% more than the total Federal expenditure on Amtrak since 1971 [$39.3 billion].

“Federal expenditures on Amtrak during the past 41 years pale next to what virtually every one of our European and Asian competitors has spent on passenger rail,” Boardman added. “But Amtrak has provided a high return on the limited Federal investment we’ve received. Our aim is to continue to do that in the years ahead.”