AMTRAK FUNDING SET AT $1.2 BILLION
The $1.2 billion amount is $300 million more than the House and the President had sought, but $600 million less than Amtrak said it needed. The Senate had agreed to $1.34 billion. Amtrak President David Gunn issued a statement that states, “This number will allow us to continue to operate the national system. However, we will have to assess the impact of this funding level on our current budget. . . .”
Money for Amtrak was included in a compromise $90 billion bill for transportation and the Treasury Department. The Conference Committee report must now be passed by the full House and Senate and then be sent to the President for his signature before this bill will become law.
“The amount approved by Congress gives Amtrak and its workers time and the chance to fight another day,” says President Bob Scardelletti. “This amount could not have been won without the efforts of TCU members and our legislative staff. I want to thank everyone who helped to again save our national rail passenger system.”
The fight is not over as Congress is still considering and debating President Bush’s plan to dismantle Amtrak.
This afternoon during the Senate debate on the FY 2004 budget resolution Senators Byrd and Lautenberg offered Senate Amendment #387 to S. Con. Res. 23, which increased funding for Amtrak from $900 million to $1.8 billion. The amendment passed 51-49. The Senate continues to debate the overall bill. Under Federal Law the Senate is required to pass their budget resolution by April 15, 2004.
The House passed its budget resolution H. Con. Res. 95 on a vote of 215-212 early this morning. The House bill included the Administration’s request for Amtrak, $900 million