While it's still not finalized, it does look like Amtrak may get most of the money it requested for this year. David Gunn back in October had already said that he could live with the amounts of money from the Continuing Resolution. That amount was very close to what Congress seems prepared to give.Amtrak would get nearly all the money it requested in the 2003 spending package being finalized by congressional Republicans, but with new conditions.
The $397.4 spending bill includes $1.05 billion for Amtrak, $150 million less than Amtrak insists it needs to continue full rail service through Sept. 30.
However before you start cheering, in an effort to please the President and his ill considered plans for Amtrak, Congress may impose some conditions on this money. These are conditions that I personally don't think that Amtrak can live with, nor will David Gunn accept.
This is clearly an attempt by the Republican's to kill Amtrak while making it look like they didn't do it. Amtrak will be forced to ask for money to run the LD trains, even though everyone in Congress knows that the LD trains is exactly where Amtrak needs to spend some of the money. Congress is also planning to put money aside to ensure the continuance of commuter ops, should Amtrak shut down.Under the plan, funds would go to the transportation secretary, rather than directly to Amtrak. Amtrak would have to provide Congress with capital and operating plans, and money could be spent only on projects in its business plan.
For the first time, Amtrak would have to seek funds for its long-distance trains -- which are among its biggest money-losers -- by making separate grant requests to the transportation secretary.
This is their way of trying to blunt the spear that David used to stab them with last summer. By taking away his biggest weapon, they can now ignore Amtrak and David Gunn. Plus not only are they taking away the weapon, but they are also taking away some of the money David needs to run Amtrak with, after appropriating less than he needs.
Hang on to your hats if this sails through Congress, it's going to be a very bumpy ride. In fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if the above restrictions are passed, to see David shut down Amtrak immediately before Congress can stop him and rescue the commuter services. Apparently Congress and the Administration didn't get the message last summer, "Don't play games with David Gunn".
Well in any event, that's my 2 cents on this matter. :angry: You can read the full story, including the quotes above, from 1010 WINS News.