Out of Control Policy Blog

Reform, Amtrak style

Related to the post before last, is this story.

To Amtrak reform apparently means asking for a 50 percent funding hike.

But yes, there is the "possibility" of contracting out some work.

Here's the scoop:

    Amtrak proposed a package of changes on Thursday that would seek additional money from states and from commuter rail lines that operate on its tracks.

    The proposal raises the possibility of allowing other companies to take over some services or even run trains. In exchange, Amtrak asked Congress for $1.8 billion for the next fiscal year, about 50 percent more than it is receiving.

    The Bush administration has proposed stopping all subsidies unless Congress reorganizes the company.

    ...

    Amtrak's proposal is different on many points from what the administration wants. It calls for Congress to pay off its $3.5 billion debt and does not rely on financing from regional groups of states, and it rejects the idea of turning over the Northeast Corridor, the tracks between Boston and Washington, to someone else. It also rejects the idea that Amtrak should break even on operating costs.

    ...

    The idea that Amtrak could collect more money from the commuter agencies that use its tracks also drew fire.

    "It's robbing Peter to pay Paul," Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said.

"Robbing Peter to pay Paul," isn't that the official motto of Congress? Why the sudden objection?

Ted Balaker is Producer


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