February 6, 2008—President George W. Bush has presented Congress with a $3.1 trillion budget for Fiscal Year 2009 and once again he proposes cutting Amtrak to a level that would cripple the service. The Bush Budget proposes 40% less than what Amtrak received for FY 2008. Amtrak received $1.325 billion for FY 2008.
The President is requesting $900 million dollars for Amtrak, of which $500 million would be for capital improvements and debt service and $100 million for state grants–which leaves $300 million for operations. This proposal is $430 million less than what Amtrak received for this year.
Operating grants would only be available provided Amtrak was able “to achieve savings through operating efficiencies including, but not limited to, modifications to food and beverage service and first class service.” Time and again throughout his eight years as President, Bush never ceased trying to destroy Amtrak.
TCU President Bob Scardelletti’s reaction to the Bush Budget was understandably negative. He said, “Bush never stops in his attack on the hard working men and women of Amtrak. I can assure TCU members that our Legislative Department will again work to make sure that Amtrak receives the funding that it needs in order to provide national rail service to America.”
International Vice President and National Legislative Director Bob Davis stated, “We will fight the Bush Budget with everything we have. And I am sure that with the help of our friends in Congress, Amtrak will get the funding it needs.” He continued, “I hope that TCU members remember in November that we must elect someone who will be our friend in the White House, a person who understands and supports working people.”
The FY 2009 budget process is just beginning in Congress. Further reports will be posted as the process moves forward.