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Amtrak needs adequate funding for infrastructure repairs in FY05, council says

Earlier this week, the New England Council urged Congress to fund Amtrak at its requested $1.5 billion level in fiscal-year 2005. Council members believe Amtrak’s status as an important component in New England’s regional transportation system is "again threatened" because of underfunding.

The Senate has proposed funding Amtrak at $1.2 billion; the House, $900 million.

The railroad is in the midst of a five-year capital improvement plan designed to bring its equipment and infrastructure to a state of good repair. Some of Amtrak’s most significant infrastructure needs are in New England, according to council officials — the Thames River, Niantic River and Connecticut River bridges are at least 85 years old and need to be replaced. Because 40 Amtrak trains operate over the bridges daily, passenger-rail service between Boston and New York would be affected if a bridge is closed.

The New England Council is part of the recently formed Amtrak Business Coalition, which comprises more than 50 business groups and companies throughout the East Coast.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/19/2004