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(rshsdepot) FW: Omnibus Bill Heads to President's Desk

> [Original Message]
> From: NARP <narp_@_narprail.org>
> To: NARP <narp_@_narprail.org>
> Date: 2/14/03 2:52:13 PM
> Subject: Omnibus Bill Heads to President's Desk
> To NARP Members--February 14, 2003:
> Late yesterday, Congress finished work on the Fiscal 2003 omnibus =
> appropriations bill and sent it to President Bush, who has indicated he =
> will sign it. In case there was any question, my second message =
> yesterday meant "no lobbying" on that bill was worth your time, because =
> the language had been finalized.=20
> As I indicated, Amtrak gets $1.05 billion for Amtrak, broken down as =
> follows: $522 million for operating expenses; $295 million for Northeast =
> Corridor capital expenses; $233 million for general capital =
> improvements. Also, Amtrak does not have to repay during fiscal 2003 the =
> $100 million loan it got from the federal government last summer.
> The good news is that, with both the House and Senate under Republican =
> control, Amtrak was given a funding level that is not a "shutdown =
> budget," and that provides a decent "baseline" from which to debate FY04 =
> funding. Gunn never called $1.05 billion a shutdown level, although =
> Associated Press reported February 4 that he did make such a comment =
> about $800 million (in New Haven, speaking to about 50 people in a =
> lecture series organized by Yale University's Industrial Environmental =
> Management Program).
> The bad news is that the bill continues the tradition of giving Amtrak =
> "just enough" to get by. The $1.2 billion was picked by Gunn's =
> predecessor, and Gunn has said he would have picked a higher number. The =
> bill also includes language that, in theory, could be used by the DOT =
> Secretary to kill individual long-distance trains. This language was the =
> price for getting the $1.05 billion. However, the Administration did not =
> seek this language and seems unlikely to use it to get rid of specific =
> routes. (For those with the patience to deal with a huge pdf document, =
> the language is on the House Rules Committee web site. In a few days, =
> the language should be more easily accessible at =
> <http://thomas.loc.gov/>.)
> Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), quoted in today's Fort Worth =
> Star-Telegram, said: "This budget will help ensure that Amtrak continues =
> to operate for another year as a national railroad system. We must also =
> continue to pursue long-term reform and better service." =
> http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/nation/5180737.htm
> For next year--FY 2004--Amtrak's request is $1.8 billion. The increased =
> funding level will allow Amtrak to further stabilize the national =
> system, repair wrecked and damaged cars and start the massive backlog of =
> capital work needed to maintain commercially viable speeds on the =
> Northeast Corridor over the next few years.
> Thank you again for your work in helping achieve a reasonably good =
> outcome. As always, check our hotline updated Friday afternoons and as =
> necessary at <www.narprail.org>.=20
> --Ross B. Capon
> NARP Executive Director

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


End of RSHSDepot Digest V1 #597

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