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Rail News: Passenger Rail

House transportation budget proposal would eliminate state-supported Amtrak service


The House Committee on Appropriations' Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee recently issued a draft of its fiscal-year 2012 budget, which would “effectively” eliminate state-supported Amtrak service starting Oct. 1, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

The draft budget would prohibit the use of federal funds provided to Amtrak to fund any operating costs of state-supported trains, they said.

The proposal “penalizes states that have made investments in passenger rail, some of which have contributed toward costs for nearly 40 years,” said Amtrak Chairman Tom Carper.

Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman called the proposal “shortsighted.”

“It will result in the loss of jobs and reverses significant progress made to use passenger rail to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil,” he said.

The proposal comes during a year when the national intercity passenger railroad has served a record number of riders, Amtrak officials noted.

The 15 states that provide state support to Amtrak service are California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.