GOP Rep. John Mica: Amtrak 'Soviet-style Operation'

Republican lawmakers on Friday dug in to their party's defense of cuts to Amtrak funding, declaring that the train derailment that killed eight people this week "did not have anything to do with money," as Rep. Bill Shuster put it.
Rep. John Mica took the argument a step further and suggested on CNN that opening the commuter rail market to private investment was the solution to what he called a "third-world rail system ... run in a Soviet-style operation." The Florida Republican said, "There's no question the United States has a third-world rail system. It's a monopoly run in a Soviet-style operation. Amtrak." Republicans have long looked to Amtrak as a focus of its efforts to cut domestic spending broadly, and many see cutting funding for the train system as a bid to privatize it. On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the New York-bound train crashed, the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee voted to reduce grants to Amtrak by $252 million -- a drop of about 15% from last year's level.