Amtrak Goes Up to The Hill … and Gets Beat Up. Again.
You can’t imagine how it pains me to say this: John Mica is back.
This guy – a member of Congress from Florida – has discovered that he can make the papers by bashing Amtrak. And so he does … again and again. For John Mica, Amtrak is the Mother Lode.
There was yet another Congressional hearing today, another ready-made forum for Mica and a couple of his Republican colleagues to make outrageous and disingenuous statements about Amtrak and, in particular, about Amtrak’s food service.
Gee, guys, says Mica, Alaska Railroad and the Rocky Mountaineer feed their passengers and they’re making money … but Amtrak is losing money on its food service, so that must mean Amtrak is incompetent*.
But Alaska Railroad and the Rocky Mountaineer operate 10-hour scenic rail excursions catering almost exclusively to tourists willing and able to pay top dollar for the experience.
While Amtrak’s long-distance trains – and that’s what Mica is really talking about — operate over much longer distances for as much as 50 to 60 hours. And, for probably two-thirds of the passengers, those trains are providing essential public transportation.
Even the congressman – in his own heart of hearts – can’t possibly believe that food service on the Rocky Mountaineer is a valid comparison to food service on Amtrak. Whatever else, John Mica is not a stupid man.
And, you see, that’s what really pisses me off:
John Mica thinks his constituents are stupid and he panders to them.
John Mica thinks the media is lazy and they’ll report whatever he says.And John Mica doesn’t give a damn about the rest of us.
*Mica doesn’t just accuse Amtrak of being incompetent. He says they’re “cooking the books” when they report that their food service is moving closer to break-even. You see, when you’re a member of Congress, you can summon someone to appear before your committee, call them a liar and a cheat … and they smile politely and take it.