March 6, 2013
The federal subsidy for Amtrak has dropped to 12 percent of operating costs - about $466 million a year, said Amtrak president Joseph Boardman. But Amtrak needs more federal money for capital costs, such as new vehicles, bridges, signals and other equipment, he said. Boardman also told a House subcommittee Tuesday that Amtrak's biggest money-losers, its long-distance routes, are important to rural and elderly populations who are losing bus and air service. Amtrak carried a record 31.2 million passengers in the fiscal year that ended last Sept.
June 26, 2002
Amtrak has an unbroken 31-year history of losing money. That dismal financial record has been matched by congressional and White House failures to realistically define Amtrak's role. Thanks to congressional mandates, for instance, Amtrak has opted to maintain long, unprofitable routes along slimly populated corridors. No business could hope to survive managing its affairs that way. Neither can Amtrak. . . . Without continued and increasing federal subsidies, Amtrak would have gone belly up years ago. Enter Congress again.
December 3, 2011 |
Amtrak may lay off nonunion workers to cut costs and increase funding to such projects as an upgraded reservations system, a spokesman said. Amtrak last month offered voluntary buyouts to management employees and is still reviewing the results. If the railroad decides it needs additional savings, it will begin "involuntary separations" for some management employees, spokesman Steve Kulm said. The railroad has about 3,000 nonunion workers in its 20,500-person workforce. Although Amtrak ridership has set records for eight of the past nine years, federal funding for rail operations was cut by Congress for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1. And all money for high-speed rail projects in the fiscal year was eliminated.
August 27, 2007 |
Technical glitches that prevented customers from buying Amtrak tickets at station kiosks or online all day Saturday have been fixed, an Amtrak spokeswoman said. Just before 1 p.m. today, the reservation system was fully restored, Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said yesterday. "We had sporadic [problems], but it didn't affect travel operations," she said. Graham said the ticketing problems began Saturday morning and persisted throughout the night. On Saturday night, the cause was identified as recently installed computer software.
July 2, 2012
Amtrak said it will operate a modified schedule on Northeast Corridor trains Sunday because of damage, debris and delays leftover from the storms of Friday night and early Saturday morning. Service between Philadelphia and Washington was stopped for a time on Saturday because of trees falling on tracks and power lines, but service was restored later in the day. Repairs and debris removal will continue Sunday, so passengers should expect delays, especially between Baltimore and Washington.
January 2, 1996 |
If Amtrak's creaky coaches, cranky conductors and laughable punctuality standards aren't warning enough, I'll take this opportunity to point out something obvious: The American taxpayer is being taken for a train ride. Though Amtrak likes us to think its train rides are smooth, speedy and picturesque, the railway is on a collision course with disaster. This year, 1.2 million people boarded Amtrak for the holidays. But if last year's numbers are any indication, travelers again faced aggravating delays, rode in decrepit cabins and encountered crew members as cold as Scrooge himself.
October 4, 1986 |
Amtrak's latest advertising slogan, "Rollin' 'Cross America," acquires new meaning as Congress rolls taxpayers for over $600 million this year to keep the government-owned passenger railroad in business during fiscal year 1987. Amtrak has been rollin' in red ink since its inception and will continue to do so as long as politicians pay its bills and dictate its routes. Amtrak has consumed $12 billion of taxpayers' money since 1971, and it is expected to require another $7 billion over the next decade.
September 11, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Warning to Amtrak from Mitt Romney and Republicans: You're on your own. The platform Republicans adopted at their convention included a call for full privatization and an end to subsidies for the nation's passenger rail operator, which gobbled up almost $1.5 billion in federal funds last year. "It is long past time for the federal government to get out of the way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service," the platform said, arguing that taxpayers dole out almost $50 for every Amtrak ticket.
January 15, 1986
The cuts in passenger train service that Amtrak began this week will probably be the beginning of the end of this service in the United States. It appears that the United States is the only important country that cannot afford this service, which is taken for granted in all the more civilized countries. Amtrak's purpose is to provide a nationwide rail passenger system. This was the idea of Congress when Amtrak was formed in 1971 - to save some of the passenger service then being sabotaged by railroad management.
September 1, 1986 |
To the world, the big issue about Amtrak is whether Congress keeps defying President Reagan and his budget cutters by forking over the subsidy Amtrak says it needs to stay alive - $600 million or so a year. But to a lively band of critics - friends of rail travel but skeptics about Amtrak management - that's just a smokescreen. They say the subsidy is only a temporary necessity, an albatross that Amtrak could shake off if it tried and must eliminate if it wants to survive. A leader of the band is Austin Coates, an auto mechanic from Jacksonville, Fla., who travels Amtrak's rails drumming up support for his United Rail Passenger Alliance and spreading the message there has to be a "better way" to fund the system.