House and Senate Pass Amtrak Appropriations Bill

House and Senate Pass Amtrak Appropriations Bill

The House and the Senate passed the conference report on the Amtrak appropriations bill that will provide $1.37 billion for Amtrak funding for Fiscal Year 2006. The bill has been sent to President Bush for his signature.

The House approved the bill by a vote of 392 in favor and 31 against, while the Senate passed it on a voice vote. While Amtrak will receive $1.31 billion for FY 2006, for the first time Congress separated operations funding from capital funding. It put the capital funding under the Department of Transportation with instructions that it can be used only for previously approved projects.

In another concession to President Bush’s call for Amtrak “reforms” the bill provides that if the DOT Inspector General cannot certify that Amtrak has shown “operational savings” by July 1, 2006, none of the money can be used by Amtrak for food, beverage and sleeper car service.

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