The Bush administration pulled out of a U.S. congressional hearing scheduled for Thursday, delaying the discussion of high-speed passenger rail service and the future of Amtrak.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta told lawmakers the administration was not prepared to discuss its outlook for rail at the House of Representatives transportation subcommittee hearing, Reuters reported.
In an unusual request, Mineta asked the committee to not compel Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Chief Allan Rutter to testify, said the news service. An FRA spokesperson confirmed Rutter would not appear before the committee.
On the issue of Amtrak, the debate within the administration is mixed, with some favoring privatization while others favor overhauling and keeping the system intact.
The railroad is currently seeking $1.2 billion in federal aid, while the Bush administration has proposed $521 million in federal support.