Give me a legitimate argument why we should be subsidizing Amtrak's daily operating expenses. Because of Congressional interference and failure to follow the 1997 law we have a situation where taxpayers are paying up to half the cost of a ticket for those almost 1 million riders who ride the northeast corridor on a daily basis.
Well, on 9/11, when all planes were grounded, Amtrak looked pretty good. Could the infrastructure in the NE handle an extra 1M commuters? 30% of the bridges there are already classified as sub standard and past their useful life. If the infrastructure can't even be maintained for current levels of use, how will they fare with increased use?
Besides, Amtrak is like the post office, it is a private entity that is extremely regulated by the government. It might make great business sense to stop Saturday delivery for the post office or for Amtrak to cut routes, but they aren't allowed to do so. It's also ironic that most major cities will pay more to build a stadium for a professional team than Amtrak gets in its government subsidy.
Again, why single out passenger trains? Why not all manner of transportation, include air? There is far more spent subsidizing these other modes of transportation than Amtrak gets. There is a reason why every other western country subsidizes rail (and air) transportation and at a far greater level than the US -- it's called the common good.