Who Owns Amtrak?

Amtrak is a popular railway corporation.
Amtrak is a popular railway corporation. (Image: View Stock/View Stock/Getty Images)

Amtrak is a corporation that the U.S. federal government has chartered. In other words, the government created the corporation, but Amtrak has its own board of directors whom the president of the United States appoints. The federal government owns most of Amtrak's shares, making the government the corporation's largest stakeholder. Amtrak reported that it carried more than 30 million passengers in fiscal year 2013.

Funding Sources

Amtrak, an acronym that stands for American travel by track, is a for-profit entity, even though its charter comes from the U.S. government. The organization was launched in the early 1970s as a way to bail out private passenger train companies said to have been operating for years at a substantial loss. Amtrak raises its own revenue through ticket sales -- close to $3 billion in fiscal year 2012. But 18 states, including California, New York, Texas and Illinois, provide additional funding to the corporation and thus help offset its operating costs. In some major urban areas, Amtrak provides contract services -- for which it also receives payments -- for city rail systems. Examples include SEPTA in Philadelphia, MARC in Baltimore, and the Long Island Rail Road in New York. Joe Boardman was Amtrak's CEO as of October 2014.

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