Amtrak threatens another shutdown over funding

Posted on January 16, 2003

Amtrak president David Gunn warned Congress on Wednesday the U.S. national passenger railroad could begin a shutdown within months if lawmakers made wholesale cuts in his request for $1.2 billion in funding, reported Reuters. Amtrak threatened a similar shutdown last summer during its budget crisis, which was resolved after the government stepped in with $300 million in loans and cash. In a statement, Gunn criticized proposals now working their way through the House of Representatives and Senate that would reduce his spending request for the current fiscal year by about a third, said the news service. "Amtrak will have no other choice but an orderly shutdown of all service this spring or sooner," said Gunn. "The funding level in the bill as it currently stands offers no other alternative but an orderly shutdown of all Amtrak service." Senator Patty Murray of the Appropriations Committee plans to offer an amendment to an omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2003 that would match Gunn's request for $1.2 billion. A plan being weighed in the House would fund Amtrak at $762 million.

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