Amtrak may start system shutdown if help not given

Posted on June 21, 2002

Amtrak only has enough cash to operate until July before it will have to begin shutting down the entire passenger rail system, its president warned. Amtrak President David Gunn testified Thursday before the Senate Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee that he would start turning away passengers and moving trains to storage by the middle of next week unless the railroad gets government help to close a $200 million shortfall, reported The Associated Press. Amtrak's next step after a shutdown would be to file for bankruptcy protection, Gunn said. "The urgency of this is enormous," Gunn told the Subcommittee. "We are very near the point of no return." The Federal Railroad Administration is reviewing Amtrak's request for a loan guarantee that would help it borrow the needed $200 million, said the AP. If this stop gap measure is fulfilled, Amtrak would need an additional $1.2 billion to get through the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

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