WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Amtrak marks its 42nd anniversary today. Yes, on May 1, 1971, Amtrak became the nation's intercity passenger rail service provider or "America's Railroad."
According to Amtrak officials, last year Amtrak carried the most passengers in its history -- a record of 31,240,565 passengers -- and ridership was up 49 percent from 2000 to 2012. Amtrak made more than $2 billion in record ticket sales in 2012 but officials say that service comes at a cost.
On Wednesday, President and CEO Joe Boardman issued a statement including a plea for more funding:
"...Amtrak has been underfunded and has too many conflicting missions with only year to year funding to plan, build and maintain safe infrastructure and provide national surface transportation mobility and connectivity. In addition, multiple layers of oversight have been added to what Congress intended to be a 'private' company that carries out public policy.
"It is time for dedicated, multi-year federal operating and capital funding for Amtrak and intercity passenger rail. Our customers and our nation have waited for 42 years too long already.
"If Congress provides predictable and needed levels of federal funding support, Amtrak and our state partners can better deliver a future of improved reliability, enhanced capacity, more service, increased speeds and reduced trip times on the Northeast Corridor and other passenger rail corridors around the country, including the development of new ones.
"Amtrak looks forward to proudly serving the nation in the years ahead."