A reform council concluded last month
that Amtrak will fail to achieve self-efficiency, making it unable to comply
with the 1997 law that ordered the railway only five years to wean itself
from federal operating subsidies. While it appeared Amtrak would be planning
a liquidation, on Dec. 20, however, Congress voted to let Amtrak off the hook
until next year.
The defense appropriations bill for
fiscal year 2002 approved by Congress last Thursday includes a provision saying
no federal funds can be spent on a liquidation plan.
The reform council continues to work
on its restructuring plan, which it plans to deliver to Congress by Feb. 7.
The decision on the future of Amtrak and passenger rail is now the responsibility
of Congress and is one that will be taken up next year.