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(rshsdepot) FW: House Democratic Letter Deadline; Bush Budget

> [Original Message]
> From: NARP <narp_@_narprail.org>
> To: NARP <narp_@_narprail.org>
> Date: 2/3/03 7:06:52 PM
> Subject: House Democratic Letter Deadline; Bush Budget
> To NARP Members--February 3, 2003:
> As of this afternoon, the Democratic "pro-Amtrak" letter to =
> appropriations conferees was scheduled to go into the mail tomorrow =
> (Tuesday) morning at 10 AM. If you have a Democratic representative who =
> is considering signing, please tell them as quickly as possible about =
> this deadline.
> The Bush Administration's FY04 budget has $900 million for Amtrak, or =
> roughly half  what Amtrak says it needs. The budget states, in part: =
> "One of the reasons behind Amtrak's fiscal difficulties is its continued =
> operation of several routes that regularly lose hundreds of dollars each =
> time a passenger steps aboard." The budget then lists the six routes =
> "with the largest losses per passenger in 2001."
> NARP's statement is at <www.narprail.org>, click on "releases," and then =
> "2003." We expect to update the hotline shortly.
> Amtrak this afternoon released a statement from Chairman John Robert =
> Smith. Since it apparently is not on their web site yet, I show the =
> whole statement below.
> --Ross B. Capon,
> NARP Executive Director
> =20
> 	WASHINGTON - Amtrak Chairman John Robert Smith and President David L. =
> Gunn today issued the following statement:
> 	The Administration's proposal of a $900 million appropriation for FY =
> 2004 begins the process of determining Amtrak's funding level for the =
> next fiscal year.  While this debate will soon be joined, the immediate =
> priority of Amtrak's Board and management is to resolve the FY 2003 =
> funding level so that we may then have a debate on the FY 2004 level.
> For FY 2003, Amtrak has requested a federal grant of $1.2 billion to =
> meet its basic needs and operate the nation's passenger rail system =
> safely and reliably.  While we are encouraged by the Senate's recent =
> approval of this amount and look forward to a final appropriations bill =
> that maintains this funding level, we have made clear to all parties =
> involved in this decision what will happen if a lesser amount is =
> approved. There can be no meaningful discussion of reform or the 2004 =
> budget until the FY 2003 budget has been approved.
> Amtrak has undertaken significant reforms to improve its cost-efficiency =
> in the past year, including a reorganization eliminating more than 500 =
> positions, adjustments to routes and schedules and the withdrawal from a =
> money-losing express business.  These reforms show clearly that Amtrak's =
> administration is not conducting business as usual, and they will =
> continue.
> This year, Congress is scheduled to take up Amtrak's reauthorization.  =
> We agree with the Administration, as it has said today, that the Amtrak =
> reauthorization process should begin as soon as possible.  We urgently =
> want to work with Congress and the states to build on the foundation of =
> our passenger rail system to further improve and reform its service and =
> cost recovery and make Amtrak a full partner in the nation's intermodal =
> transportation system.
> We further agree with the remarks made by DOT Deputy Secretary Jackson =
> today that passenger rail is an important component of our nation's =
> transportation infrastructure, and as such we believe long-distance =
> trains play a significant role.  Until Congress and other policymakers =
> determine otherwise, as mandated by law, we will continue to operate =
> this system as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
> # # #

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End of RSHSDepot Digest V1 #587

The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org