10/02/01 Amtrak

Amtrak president gives employees update

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following is a message dated June 21, 2002, from Amtrak President David Gunn to all Amtrak employees concerning the passenger carrier’s loan status:

Dear Co-Workers:

This is a report on our financial problems. We have not obtained a loan as of this date. We are working very hard on three options:

1: Dept. of Transportation (DOT) loan guarantee.

2: Congressional action authorizing DOT to issue a loan guarantee.

3: A bridge appropriation of $200 million.

Time is running out. When Congress adjourns next week, options two and three will disappear.

You will hear mention of bankruptcy and cessation of service. These are real possibilities. I still believe wisdom will prevail and we will be allowed to operate and put together a FY03 budget. But as I said, time is running out.

It is imperative that Amtrak be perceived as an efficient, cost-conscious company. As I said previously, we are not viewed in that light today, but given a chance, we will be.

From the time a Red Cap greets a passenger to the on-board personnel, you all have a role to play. How you treat the passenger is critical. Behind the scenes, giving your best is also important, whether you are doing track inspections, selling tickets in the call center or stations, or working the night shift at Wilmington or at the Bear shops.

We obviously have a lot of friends, but we also have those who think we are a waste of money. How each of us behaves is important. Individuals who do their best are doing their part to preserve Amtrak and our jobs. Non-performers are risking not only their own jobs, but all of our jobs.

I have made a commitment to run an efficient, effective service. I have made a commitment to fight to maintain the existing system. I will not deviate from those principles.

I need and appreciate your help.

David Gunn
Amtrak President

June 21, 2002

June 20th, 2002


Thursday, June 20, 2002 — The Bush Administration pushed Amtrak one step closer to the brink today when Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta publicly called for its dismantlement. Even more seriously, the Administration refused to say whether it will sign on to a loan guarantee to ensure Amtrak’s immediate survival.

This crisis is real! Amtrak is about to run out of money. It has been seeking a credit line of $270 million from private lenders. The lenders have refused, citing a lack of collateral. They are demanding a federal loan guarantee. So far, the Bush Administration has refused to sign on to such a guarantee.

If Amtrak does not get the loan by the end of next week, it may be forced to declare bankruptcy. Act now! Call the White House at 202-456-1414, and ask that the Administration give Amtrak a federal loan guarantee so that it can continue to operate while Congress debates its future. Also, click here to send an e-mail and letter to your Congressperson and two Senators.


June 6th, 2002


We need to act now to secure the necessary loan guarantees and to prevent an immediate discontinuance or break up of Amtrak.

We must call, write and email the contacts listed below and urge them to do the following:

  •      Support $1.2 billion in FY03 appropriations for Amtrak.  This level of funding is the minimum amount necessary to retain the current system and level of service while policymakers resolve the larger issues and funding levels during the reauthorization process next year.

  •      Support $55 million for wrecked equipment repair and overhaul of critically needed rail passenger cars.  This level of funding currently contained in the Senate Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill would allow Amtrak to begin returning critically needed equipment to support a national system.  This $55 million also contains $12 million of reimbursement for September 11-related security expenses. 

  •   >   Support the current Amtrak national rail passenger system with Amtrak as the operator and manager.  Have the key contacts affirm the national system and its continuation (at the minimum for the next several years) and allay any concerns in the marketplace of any break up or reconfiguration to assure necessary financial and other support for the company.  

It is our view that the system rises and falls as a system and we would oppose any efforts to break up Amtrak.  The break up of Amtrak would cost American taxpayers a significant amount of money and result in loss of service to many communities.  At a time when more and more communities are looking to rail passenger service as a way to increase mobility choices, create economic development and reduce congestion, we should instead be looking for ways to establish a dedicated source of capital funding.  The separation of infrastructure and operations has proven disastrous in Great Britain.

  •      Amtrak’s new CEO should be given the opportunity to rebuild this railroad.

Summary Statement

It is critical for the Administration and Congress to support a national system without any break up over the next year or two–even though consideration for the future of Amtrak could occur during that time–in order to secure the necessary financial support and credibility in the marketplace for the company.


Norman Y. Mineta
Secretary of Transportation
(202) 366-7202 FAX
email: dot.comments@ost.dot.gov

Andrew H. Card, Jr.
Chief of Staff to the President
(202) 456-6798

Thomas Daschle
Senate Majority Leader
Ph: (202) 224-2321
Fax (202) 224-7895
Email: tom_daschle@daschle.senate.gov

Trent Lott
Senate Minority Leader
Ph: (202) 224-6253
Fax (202) 224-2262
Email: senatorlott@lott.senate.gov

Fritz Hollings
Commerce Committee Chairman
Ph: (202) 224-6121
Fax (202) 224-4293
Email: hollings@senate.gov

Robert Byrd
Appropriations Committee Chairman
Ph: (202) 224-3954
Fax (202) 228-0002
Email: senator_byrd@byrd.senate.gov

Patty Murray
Subcommitte Chairman
Ph: (202) 224-2621
Fax (202) 224-0238
Email: senator_murray@murray.senate.gov

Dennis Hastert
House Speaker
Ph: (202) 225-2976
Fax (202) 225-0697
Email: dhastert@mail.house.gov

Richard Gephardt
House Minority Leader
Ph: (202) 225-2671
Fax (202) 225-7452
Email: gephardt@mail.house.gov

Bill Young
Appropriations Committee Chairman
Ph: (202) 225-5961
Fax (202) 225-9764
Email: bill.young@mail.house.gov

David R. Obey
Approp. Committee Ranking Democrat
Ph: (202) 225-3365
Fax (202) 225-3240

Harold Rogers
Transportation Approps. Subcommittee Chairman
Ph: (202) 225-4601
Fax (202) 225-0940
Email: talk2hal@mail.house.gov

Marty Sabo
Transportation Subcommittee, Ranking Democrat
Ph: (202) 225-4755
Fax (202) 225-4886
Email: martin.sabo@mail.house.gov

Don Young
Transportation Committee Chairman
Ph: (202) 225-5765
Fax (202) 225-0425
Email: don.young@mail.house.gov

Jack Quinn
Rail Subcommittee Chairman
Ph: (202) 225-3306
Fax (202) 25-0347

Jim Oberstar
Transportation Committee Ranking Democrat
Ph: (202) 225-6211
Fax (202) 225-0699

Bob Clement
Rail Subcommittee Ranking Democrat
Ph: (202) 225-4311
Fax (202) 226-1035
Email: bob.clement@mail.house.gov

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