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Amtrak Ridership Hits Record High Amid GOP Attacks

By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amtrak says its trains carried 31.2 million passengers in the fiscal year ending in September, the highest annual ridership since the railroad was formed in 1971.

The nation’s intercity passenger railroad said ridership grew 3.5 percent over the past 12 months compared with the previous budget year, and ticket revenue jumped 6.8 percent to a best ever $2.02 billion.

Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman said the numbers show there is “an undeniable demand to travel by rail.”

Amtrak ridership increased every year but one over the past decade. It’s up almost 50 percent from 2000.

Republicans recently have stepped up their campaign to end federal subsidies to Amtrak. Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican and the House Transportation Committee chairman, has accused Amtrak of Soviet-style inefficiency.

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