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Amtrak awaits House amendment on FY2004 transportation bill

Sometime during the evening of July 24, the full House Appropriations Committee is expected to amend the fiscal-year 2004 transportation/treasury spending bill, raising Amtrak funding to $900 million. On July 11, a house appropriations subcommittee proposed a $580 million FY2004 budget for the national passenger railroad.

While the $900 million would be consistent with the Bush Administration’s recommendations, it would not be sufficient to fund operations, Amtrak officials said. The railroad has requested $1.8 billion.

"There are too many of our assets that could fail at any time and cripple our railroad," wrote Amtrak President David Gunn in a July 18 letter to House and Senate appropriations leaders. "We have, for very good reasons and well cognizant of the budget environment, asked for a funding level above the current fiscal year. This railroad simply cannot continue to operate without an adequate maintenance budget."

In FY2003, Amtrak was appropriated $1.05 billion.

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More News from 7/24/2003