07/17/03 Amtrak


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AMTRAK TAKES HUGE HIT AS HOUSE PANEL APPROVES TRANSPORTATION FUNDING

July 17, 2003…On July 11, 2003, after a rancorous debate over Amtrak, a House Appropriations subcommittee approved a draft Transportation and Treasury spending bill that critics said could force a shutdown of the passenger rail system. Approved by voice vote by the Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies Subcommittee, the legislation would fund Amtrak at $580 million for fiscal 2004, $320 million less than President Bush requested and far below the $2 billion that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee called for in an Amtrak authorization bill (HR 2572) it approved June 25.

The full House Appropriations Committee will consider the transportation funding measure on Monday, July 21 2003. The bill would require that the funding for Amtrak go toward its Northeast Corridor and West Coast routes, effectively gutting the rest of the passenger rail system. Subcommittee Chairman Ernest F. Istook, (R-OK), an Amtrak critic, said, "They were supposed to be self-sufficient right now." David L. Gunn, Amtrak’s president, said the funding level in the bill was "physically, financially and legally impossible."

Please contact the members of the House Appropriations Committee (click here for a listing of committee members) and urge them to support full funding of $1.8 billion for Amtrak for FY 2004.

USE TCU’S TOLL FREE HOTLINE (800) 284-2919

We must act now! Congress will recess during the month of August and will not return until after Labor Day.

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