Federal Railroad Administrator Statement Regarding Amtrak’s Threatened Service Shutdown
Thursday, January 16, 2003 (Washington, DC) At a meeting of commuter rail operators in Washington, DC, Federal Railroad Administrator Allan Rutter today released the following statement in response to Amtrak’s threatened service shutdown should Congress appropriate less than $1.2 billion in funding:
“Secretary Mineta and I remain firmly committed to commuter and intercity passenger rail in America. However, as the Administration has long said, without reform, Amtrak will fail to meet the nation’s future passenger needs.
Through its representation on Amtrak’s Board of Directors, the Administration has consistently cautioned Amtrak to develop contingencies in the likely event Congress appropriates less than the requested FY03 $1.2 billion appropriation. Yet despite that caution and the Administration’s ongoing opposition to a $1.2 billion operating budget, Amtrak operations continue at this spending level.
At its next Board meeting, which is scheduled for next Thursday, we will work with the Board of Directors to take advantage of the opportunity to assess alternatives to allow for operations within the Congressional appropriation.
In the meantime, Secretary Mineta continues to work with commuter rail agencies to identify steps to preserve their services should Amtrak find itself operationally constrained in the short term.”