to expand its already failing passenger rail service, despite
being told by a federal oversight panel in November to plan for
its own liquidation. Once again, Amtrak is getting its funding
from government coffers - this time it's milking Florida for $23.5
On Dec. 20,
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush committed $8 million in addition to $15.5
million that the Florida Department of Transportation previously
earmarked for the expansion of Amtrak passenger rail service between
Jacksonville and West Palm Beach, along Florida East Coast Railway
right-of-way. The money is being used to renovate the railroad
tracks and build new stations in eight Florida communities: St.
Augustine, Daytona Beach, Titusville, Cocoa/Port Canaveral, Melbourne,
Vero Beach, Fort Pierce and Stuart.
stop there. To complete the expansion project, another $40 million
in funding is needed for additional improvements and operations
of a second train between Jacksonville and West Palm Beach to
be completed in 2005 and 2006.
the Amtrak Reform Council declared that Amtrak will not meet a
congressional deadline of Dec. 2, 2002, for achieving financial
self-sufficiency, a finding that forces Amtrak to come up with
a plan for its own liquidation. Congress created the council in
1997 to evaluate Amtrak's finances and to make a definitive judgment
about the railway's financial viability.
-- Rene Tankersley