A day after publicly pressing the General Services Administration over its travel and conference spending, a House panel turned its focus on Amtrak, charging that the national rail service regularly loses millions each year on its food service for passengers and has done little to rein in those costs.
“They’ve lost $833 million over the last ten years serving food and beverages,” said Rep. John Mica (R-FL), who labeled those numbers “staggering.”
“We have to end these unbelievable losses to the taxpayers,” Mica added.
At a hearing, Mica went over the simple tally of how much you pay for food, and how much it really costs the taxpayer.
“It costs passengers $9.50 to buy a cheeseburger on Amtrak, but the cost to taxpayers is $16.15,” said Mica. “Riders pay $2.00 for a Pepsi, but each of these sodas costs the U.S. Treasury $3.40.”
To some on the panel like Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), whose family is in the restaurant business, the figures were hard to swallow.
“Obviously the business model here is not working,” said Barletta, who joined the grumbling over why Amtrak can’t just recover their costs on food and beverage service aboard trains.