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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GOP has always treated Amtrak like a "red headed step child", handy-capping its potential. Now that it finally starting to show promise, they still want to throw it out with the bath water.
One wonders how money the United State Marine CORPORATION will fletch.

Typical republican solution privatize so a few can get rich off the public who need public transportation. Sell this line and next they will shut down the rest of Amtrak. Amtrak saves energy not in line with the republican sponsored oil companies.

The government should of sold it years ago. Sen. Frank Lautenberg is a typical New Jersey Democtrat, owned by th unions. Lautenberg has never seen a government program he doesn't love. It means alll his union friends get to milk the American Tax Payers.

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