Rail

Panel to discuss plans for Amtrak restructuring

Posted on December 14, 2001

The Amtrak Reform Council will meet today to discuss restructuring options designed to decentralize intercity passenger rail service, which has been run by Amtrak for 30 years. The council drafted nine alternatives for the railway, based on ideas from the 11 panel members. One of the restructuring options offered by the council has Amtrak continuing to operate passenger trains with the stipulation that it could face competition from private companies or regional authorities, reported The Associated Press. Another option has the private sector taking over Amtrak train operations and eliminating long-distance routes considered unprofitable. Council officials acknowledged the nine options as only a starting point and that the final recommendation, to be submitted to Congress by Feb. 7, 2002, may contain portions of several of them. This is the first scheduled meeting since the Council approved a resolution finding that Amtrak would not achieve operational self-sufficiency by Dec. 2, 2002. In FY 2001, the Council estimates that Amtrak will lose approximately $340 million for the purposes of operational self-sufficiency, and lose more than $1 billion under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

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