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Amtrak’s Future

Dear Amtrak Co-workers:

Earlier today, President Bush sent to Congress his
proposed budget for FY é─˘06. It provides no funding for
Amtrak. In contrast, this year we are spending $1.4
billion, of which $1.2 billion is from a federal
appropriation to support our operations and capital
programs across the country.

The Presidenté─˘s proposal does provide $360 million to
the Surface Transportation Board for continued commuter
and freight operations on the NEC only after forcing
an Amtrak bankruptcy. It also isné─˘t accompanied by any
kind of plan for how Amtrak could continue operations.
In a word, they have no plan for Amtrak other than bankruptcy.

Obviously, the proposal is irresponsible and a surprising
disappointment. It doesné─˘t acknowledge all the hard work
youé─˘ve done over the past two years to run a tighter and
better ship. Our costs are more under control than ever
before – thaté─˘s quite an accomplishment.

It is critical that reforms and improvements must continue,
however. Amtraké─˘s management is engaged with its board,
the Department of Transportation and others for this purpose.
That work continues. We are committed to an efficient and
productive rail passenger system. The plan to force us into
bankruptcy would be counterproductive to this goal.

The President’s proposal is only the start of a long
legislative process, and we are taking it very seriously.
This process has a lot of twists and turns, and it always t
akes six to nine months to sort out. It woné─˘t have any
impact through the é─˘05 fiscal year, but thereé─˘s going to
be very little cash left at the end of this year. Rest
assured that after all we have been through, I am committed
to doing everything I can to secure adequate funding for é─˛06.
We have strong support in Congress and a lot of support
across the country.

The best thing that all employees can do is to do their
jobs professionally, delivering the highest quality
passenger service we know how. If we really care about
our passengers, others will care about us. As I travel
in the Midwest this week, you can bet that Ié─˘m going
to be looking at service standards. Stay safe out there,
and keep your heads up.

Sincerely,

/s/ David L. Gunn

More info here from the National Association of Rail Passengers

Categories: Trains.