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Amtrak on Right Track, Leader Tells House Panel

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Amtrak’s president and CEO told a House committee that an overhaul of the government-subsidized carrier’s corporate structure is beginning to have an effect.

Still, Boardman is looking for more federal investment in infrastructure, including a proposed $7 billion upgrade of Washington’s Union Station. The railroad also wants to spend more than $150 billion to build a state-of-the-art high-speed rail line in the Northeast Corridor, which would carry trains at speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour.

But Mica and other Republicans are reluctant to authorize more funding for an operation that has never been profitable and has struggled to implement earlier promised reforms.

“Without a profit motive, how do you reach those goals?” asked committee member Richard Hanna, R-N.Y.

“We were in survival mode,” Boardman said. “That’s begun to change at Amtrak, I hope.”

Ted Alves, inspector general of the National Railroad Passenger Corp., Amtrak’s corporate parent, said he believed Boardman has succeeded in changing the corporate culture.

“Since Mr. Boardman made that a priority ... that plan was delivered, and there’s things that are under way to address those deficiencies,” Alves said.

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