Panel backs plan to cut Amtrak funding

| Friday, June 17, 2005

A key House panel endorsed a bill Wednesday, June 15, that would effectively shut down more than a dozen long-distance passenger trains that lose millions of dollars each year.

The House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on transportation approved legislation that would prohibit federal funding for any Amtrak route that requires a subsidy of $30 or more per passenger, the Gannett News reported.

The threshold reportedly would affect at least 15 long-distance routes and two regional lines.

President Bush has sought to eliminate all aid to Amtrak and force it into bankruptcy if necessary, unless Congress enacts major reforms, including opening passenger rail lines to private competition, according to the news service.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta also has said that states must start chipping in a lot more if they want passenger rail service.

The full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday, June 21.

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