what is the purpose and formation of amtrak?

2 Answers

  • 9 years ago
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    It was costing the carriers too much money to privately run passenger service at the time. It has even been blamed for the fall of several class one railroads of the time. Ridership had fallen sharply for decades due to the interstate system and the rise of passenger airlines. It was just faster to fly or drive. However some people still relied on rail transportation. In 1971, Congress and President Nixon created the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, or Amtrak. The government owns and funds it. Amtrak trains run on privately owned freight rail lines with the exception of some Amtrak owned lines in the Northeast. The railroads find Amtrak a burden because it has to work around it's schedule, costing delays to freight traffic and getting fined if the passenger train is delayed. It is widely known that it was expected to fail. President Nixon was rumored to have agreed with some railroads that it would fail after two years. However it is still up and going. Ridership has increased yearly for quite some time now. It does have a target on it's head by conservatives as they believe it's a waste of tax dollars.

  • 9 years ago

    The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak (reporting mark AMTK), is a government-owned corporation[1] that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track".[2] It is headquartered at Union Station in Washington, D.C.[3]

    All of Amtrak's preferred stock is owned by the U.S. federal government. The members of its board of directors are appointed by the President of the United States and are subject to confirmation by the United States Senate. Common stock was issued in 1971 to railroads that contributed capital and equipment; these shares convey almost no benefits[4] but their current holders[5] declined a 2002 buy-out offer by Amtrak.[6]

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    Amtrak employs nearly 19,000 people. It operates passenger service on 21,000 miles (34,000 km) of track primarily owned by freight railroads connecting 500 destinations in 46 states[7] and three Canadian provinces. In fiscal year 2008, Amtrak served 28.7 million passengers, representing six straight years of record ridership.[7][8] Despite this recent growth, the United States still has one of the lowest inter-city rail usages in the developed world.

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