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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Reform Council plans meeting to ponder Amtrak restructuring options


Amtrak Reform Council (ARC) has scheduled a meeting Dec. 14, at Loews L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C., to discuss Amtrak restructuring options.

ARC Nov. 9 approved a resolution finding that Amtrak would not achieve operational self-sufficiency by its Congressionally mandated deadline, Dec. 2, 2002, and Nov. 13 submitted to President Bush and the appropriate Congressional committees informing them of the council’s decision.

In it, ARC cites that Amtrak is not on the glide-path to self-sufficiency as it has asserted.

"Amtrak’s fiscal-year 2001 performance was worse than its performance in FY2000, and Amtrak is in a weaker financial position than prior to passage of the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act of 1997," ARC said in its letter, according to a prepared statement. "In FY2001, the council estimates that Amtrak will lose approximately $340 million for the purposes of operational self-sufficiency, and lose over $1 billion under Generally Accepted Accounting Principals."

The council’s finding launched a 90-day period within which ARC must submit to Congress an action plan for a restructured and rationalized national passenger rail system, and Amtrak must submit a plan for its liquidation.

Both plans are due by Feb. 7, 2002.