By 1980 things were not much better as the carrier saw $454 million in revenues and $ billion in expenses. Regardless of all of the problems during the early years of Amtrak and the claims by critics over the years that the carrier is a waste of taxpayer money and should be eliminated, travel by train is not only a very needed transportation artery but also continues to receive public support year after year. And, even though a statute expired in 2002 guaranteeing annual funding for Amtrak, both public and Congressional support continues to ensure its survival (since 2002 Amtrak has broken yearly ridership records). When Amtrak began operations in 1971 after its first year of service it hauled roughly million passengers. A decade later by the early 1980s the carrier was hauling around 21 million passengers. While ridership would be relatively unchanged between the 1980s and the new millennium, after 2000 growth continued with new routes added and territories upgraded, like the Northeast Corridor (which introduced the very fast Acela trainsets during that year).