The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Amtrak reached a tentative deal Wednesday that would provide the passenger rail service with a $100 million loan to avert an imminent system shutdown.
In a joint statement, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and Amtrak Chairman John Robert Smith reported "excellent progress" in resolving the short-term financial crisis facing the railroad.
While details of the tentative agreement were not disclosed by the U.S. DOT or Amtrak, sources inside and out of the government said the two sides agreed to take a two-stage approach, Reuters reported.
First, the government would directly lend Amtrak $100 million to cover spending priorities for the first half of the summer.
In the second stage, the Bush administration would work with Congress to come up with another $100 million at least to keep the trains running through September, said the news service.