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Amtrak Deadline

Ross Reynolds
06/24/2002 at 1:00 p.m.

Amtrak, the nationís passenger rail company, is threatening to shutdown routes by Wednesday and file for bankruptcy by Friday if it doesnít get a quick infusion of 200 million dollars.

Amtrak is lingering on life support. Last year it had to mortgage Pennsylvania Station to pay operating expenses, a move thatís been compared to mortgaging your house for groceries. Congress wants Amtrak to run without federal subsidies by December- thatís about as probable as getting Amtrak trains to run on time. So it begs the question - is Amtrak on Mission Impossible. What could be done to fix it? Is the subsidy per rail passenger - over 300 dollars on one cross country route, ridiculous? Is it time to see what local governments and private business can do to help? Or does Congress need to wake up the fact that a self-sustaining passenger rail service is unrealistic?

Guests include:
Bruce Chapman, member Amtrak Reform Council, founder of the Seattle based Discovery Institute
Cliff Black, Amtrak
Robert Gallamore, Northwestern University

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