Senate Approves $205 Million to Keep Amtrak Rolling

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate ensured Amtrak’s survival through October by approving an emergency supplemental appropriations bill that includes $205 million to keep Amtrak operational, U.S. Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper announced today. The Senator’s efforts to fully fund Amtrak through next year succeeded today, when an additional $1.2 billion was included in the transportation appropriations subcommittee, fully funding national passenger rail through fiscal year 2003. “Securing this vital funding will help ensure that Amtrak has the money it needs to operate a modern national rail system,” said Senator Biden. Now, we have to redouble our efforts to take care of Amtrak for the long term as well.” “This solves the short term funding crisis. We must work to ensure that Congress and the President echo the committee’s decision to dedicate $1.2 billion to Amtrak,” Carper said. “We must continue to push for a long term solution. Amtrak needs both a dedicated source of funding and a solid commitment from the administration to provide the country with a strong national passenger rail system.” The emergency supplemental appropriations bill also included funds to help deal with the aftermath of September 11, 2002, including money for the Department of Defense and additional homeland security measures. The bill was passed by the U. S House of Representatives last night and is expected to be signed into law by the President. Biden and Carper were joined by 49 of their Senate colleagues earlier this year in sending a letter to Chairman Conrad urging him to include $1.2 billion in this year’s budget. This was followed by a letter from 53 Senators to appropriations chairman Robert Byrd and Subcommittee Chairman Patty Murray requesting the $1.2 billion that Murray’s subcommittee approved today. This vital funding will allow Amtrak to improve its infrastructure, upgrade security, and enable Amtrak to continue operating routes nationwide.