10/25/05 Amtrak

Senate Passes $1.45 Billion for Amtrak

On October 20 the Senate approved the appropriations bill that would provide $1.45 billion for Amtrak funding for Fiscal Year 2006.

The Senate appropriations bill is $274 million move than was passed by the House. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) indicated that $1.45 billion is in the middle of the $1.4-1.5 billion range that DOT Inspector General Kenneth Mead testified was needed to maintain the current Amtrak services.

The Transportation-Treasury-Housing Appropriations Committee bill contained language that threatened to cut off funds for Amtrak food service and sleeping cars on long distance trains. However through the efforts of Senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) this provision was removed before the final Senate vote was taken.

The bill passed by a vote of 93 yeas and 1 nay. The Senate bill must now be reconciled with the House passed bill in Conference Committee.

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