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1/24/2003



Rail News: Passenger Rail

CNN online poll: Amtrak's worth $2 billion a year in taxpayer money





Amtrak’s got backers in cyberspace.



More than eight out of 10 participants in a recent CNN.com online poll support Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer David Gunn's recent call for $2 billion annually to keep the national passenger railroad running over the next five years.



Speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting on Jan. 22, Gunn said Amtrak needs that much per year to fully fund operations and capital improvements.



"Is Amtrak worth another $2 billion a year in taxpayer money?" CNN asked Jan. 23 via its online poll, Lou Dobbs "Moneyline" QuickVote. As of 2 p.m. (EST) on Jan. 24, 2,523 online voters, or 84 percent, clicked "yes"; 492 (or 16 percent) clicked "no."



On Jan. 16, the Senate approved an amendment to Amtrak's spending bill that would restore the national passenger railroad's fiscal-year 2003 appropriation to $1.2 billion, which is what Gunn says Amtrak needs simply to survive the current fiscal year. But the House last fall voted to give Amtrak $762 million. Once the Senate finishes with its version of the revised bill, a House-Senate conference committee will write a compromise version.



Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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