Amtrak serving up free wine, food paid for by taxpayers
As travelers start to head back from the holidays, many are doing it with free wine and food, paid for by tax dollars.
It’s a service so unique that many passengers have been pulling out their phones to capture it on camera and upload the videos to YouTube.
Passengers have been treated to restaurant-quality food served in fine dining fashion, including free wine on many long distance trips.
Amtrak loses millions of dollars every year on food costs, which adds up to close to $1 billion taxpayer dollars.
“We’re at $990 million in losses in a dozen years and unfortunately those losses continue to mount,” said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.
The free wine and cheese alone is pricey. According to the Amtrak inspector general, complimentary wine and cheese are offered to passengers on the auto train that runs between Florida and Virginia.
In fiscal year 2012, the complimentary offerings cost about $428,000
In an audit, the inspector general recommends Amtrak cut out the complimentary wine and food and start charging.
The audit also suggested the company look into contracting out their food and beverage service to the private sector.
Amtrak maintains it has cut food and beverage costs. “Amtrak is moving forward with a plan to eliminate its food and beverage losses over five years”
But for now, the free, taxpayer-funded alcohol keeps flowing.