Most Amtrak critics in Congress and the Bush administration harp on ideological concepts that have little or no connection with transportation realities. Amtrak is expected to be profitable but no similar demand is made of highways, airways, or waterways. Federal funds totalling literally trillions of dollars have been "invested" in highways and airways during the 30+ years of Amtrak's existence, but the ideologs complain about the $30 million "wasted" on Amtrak during that same period. The waste at Amtrak has been caused largely by Congressional failure to identify a functional role for intercity rail and then fund it accordingly.
Ideologs cite "Privatization" as the cure for Amtrak's financial woes, but they forget that Amtrak was formed as a mechanism to rid the private railroads of the financial burden of "unprofitable" rail passenger service. These same ideologs deny that passenger transportation is virtually never profitable for its providers [Warren Buffet asserts that the commercial airline industry has never made a profit in its history]. But the existence of such transportation is vital to the economic and social health of the nation.