An Inclusive Litany

10/17/01

After the airline industry was granted a $15 billion bailout for losses incurred as a result of the terrorist attacks, Amtrak asked for $3 billion in emergency funds, as compared with its annual revenues of $2 billion. In addition, the National Association of Railroad Passengers called on Congress to give Amtrak another $19 billion for high speed rail service. Amtrak's existing "high speed" rail service averages 66 mph between Boston and New York.

[Ed.: On average, for every dollar Amtrak collects in ticket fees, it incurs two dollars in costs. In November the Amtrak Reform Council, an independent congressional agency, concluded that Amtrak would not be financially self-sufficient by December 2002, as had been promised. This triggered a 1997 law requiring the railroad to submit plans to Congress on how to either restructure or liquidate itself. But the Senate passed an amendment to a defense-spending bill that bars Amtrak from spending any money even considering its own demise.]

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