Feds tell Amtrak to plan liquidation

| 11/9/2001

A federal oversight panel declared Friday that Amtrak will not meet a congressional deadline for achieving financial self-sufficiency, a finding that forces Amtrak to come up with a plan for its own liquidation, according to published reports. The 6-5 vote by the Amtrak Reform Council does not mean the passenger railroad will close.

Congress will review Amtrak's liquidation plan and a proposal to be drawn up by the council for a restructured national passenger rail system. Congress then will make a final decision about the future of Amtrak and rail service.

In 1997, Congress created the council to evaluate Amtrak's finances and to make a definitive judgment about the railway's financial viability. Since then, officials say Amtrak has made progress toward weaning itself from federal operating subsidies but the council ruled it still won't meet Congress' deadline of Dec. 2, 2002.

Amtrak President George Warrington rejected cuts to stem losses last year and announced the railway would pursue new routes and business opportunities such as time-sensitive package delivery. But by late summer Amtrak acknowledged it was falling short of ridership and revenue projections.