On Thursday, Mark Dayton, the U.S. Department of Transportation's deputy assistant inspector general, recommended that Congress should abandon the Dec. 2, 2002, deadline for Amtrak to become self-sufficient so the railway can focus on security improvements.
Amtrak should begin with improving the ventilation and evacuation systems in six aging underwater tunnels to New York's Penn Station, Dayton said.
Senate Commerce Chairman Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) proposed eliminating the self-sufficiency requirement as part of a multi billion-dollar package for the railroad.
Amtrak president George Warrington said it has become more difficult for the railroad to make money in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Congressional critics of Amtrak have opposed contributing more money to the railway until it proves it can cover operating costs.