Joe Biden, aka "Mr. Amtrak," now has a great position from which to fight for rail service in this country. It's working. Good for him. I like Amtrak. Mostly I like Amtrak because I am firm believer in that good old capitalist value of efficiency, and there ain't nothing more efficient than a train for getting people from Point A to Point B. Republicans oppose funding for Amtrak because a lot of their constituents are in rural areas, whereas Amtrak serves all those liberal northeastern intellectual-elitist types between Boston and Washington. Of course, Amtrak also serves the rest of the country, but it's most heavily used in the northeast.
This is one of those things that will be turned around by Obama, and will start to deliver dividends quickly. There are, I am sure, lots of basic things that can be done to improve Amtrak, and spending from the stimulus package will target those. As those improvements start to be implemented, we'll see some positive reinforcement - more people will ride Amtrak, more people will have a better experience riding Amtrak, and therefore more people will be supportive of Amtrak. The numbers will not be dramatic at first, but they will build. More importantly, this is just one area where we will see this effect from the Obama administration.