Senate Appropriations Committee Passes $1.45 Billion for Amtrak

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes $1.45 Billion for Amtrak

The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would provide $1.45 billion for Amtrak funding for Fiscal Year 2006.

The Committee approved the $1.45 billion which was an increase of $50 million over what the sub-committee had previously approved. This is also $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.

This Senate bill does threaten to cut off funds for Amtrak food service and sleeping cars on long distance trains. This was put forth as one reform that Amtrak could implement. In responding to this section of the bill Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) said, “Food and beverage, as well as sleeper cars, are essential components of long-distance train travel. I agree that Amtrak needs to be more aggressive in contracting for food and beverage service, but I also believe we need to keep those amenities available.”

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