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7/25/2005



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Senate appropriations committee increases Amtrak funding to $1.45 billion



Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to allocate $1.45 billion for Amtrak in fiscal-year 2006.

The funding level is consistent with the amount of money U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Kenneth Mead said Amtrak needs to maintain current service.

However, the bill includes language that would prohibit Amtrak from subsidizing food and beverage losses.

"The need for changes to Amtrak’s current food outsourcing contract is widely acknowledged," said National Association of Railroad Passengers Executive Director Ross Capon in a prepared statement. "But Amtrak should be judged on its overall bottom line. Congress should not be dictating Amtrak menus."

Meanwhile, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said he would recommend vetoing the $1.4 billion allocation if Congress approved it without including reform initiatives.



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