GOP hopes to sell Amtrak's Northeastern corridor

An Amtrak Acela high-speed train at South Station in Boston.

CHIOTAKIS: It's part of the Republican plan to reduce the federal deficit -- privatizing part of the nation's passenger rail system. At a House Transportation hearing yesterday, we learned about the GOP plan to sell investors the busy Amtrak line between Boston and Washington.

From Washington, Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports.


JOHN DIMSDALE: House Republicans want to sell Amtrak's train stations and tracks o the Northeast Corridor to companies that would build a high speed rail service. One investor, Ignacio Jayanti of Corsair Capital, says he knows businesses that are willing to raise as much as $60 billion for high speed rail over the next ten years.

IGNACIO JAYANTI: This, I emphasize is $50- to $60 billion of private sector investment with no federal subsidies to maintain the infrastructure.

But Amtrak's defenders, like New Jersey's Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg, say riders on the rail would pay a lot more under the Republican plan.

FRANK LAUTENBERG: Investors expect a return. They're gonna want to price the product at a sufficiently high price to get that return. So we have to be careful about that.

Amtrak has its own plans for high speed rail service but it will take thirty years and cost $117 billion.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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