“But if a partner (the states) wants to say what that price should be for their local person, if we don’t collect enough revenue with that, somebody has to make that difference up. And what congress has said is that the state where that is happening has to make that up. In the Northeast Corridor we cover about 120 percent of our costs above the rail without capital even on the train — the operating costs.
“We just started for Virginia a Lynchburg service where we’re covering [our costs] so they don’t have to contribute. Because of the ridership we’re covering what our incremental cost is to supply the service. That might happen with Madison and it might not. We, as a private company, are obligated to maximize the revenue we receive from passengers or whoever is contributing.
“We don’t have to maximize the revenue if the state decided the fair price is going to be $22. But we shouldn’t have to cover the short fall if it takes 220 passengers a day paying $22 to cover that cost and we get 219 passengers a day.
“Who should accept that risk, Amtrak or the state? And the [Federal government] in the [Passenger Rail Improvement and Investment Act (PRIA)] passed in 2008 have said the state.
“If it’s a corridor service, if it’s a long-distance train where you’re interconnecting across the nation — and [the Federal government] defined it as over 750 miles — it’s the feds.
“It’s the [Federal government] saying, in effect, we’re responsible for the interstate highway, but the local roads belong to the state and even though we might give you the aid you will have to figure out how you are going to distribute that aid.
“And I think it makes sense.”