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Amtrak: Additional funding needed soon to avoid service, employment reductions

AmtrakAmtrak has submitted a letter to Congress formalizing its ongoing request for a total federal investment of $10 billion for the current fiscal year.

The request would include $5 billion for what would effectively be a bailout due to decreased ridership due to the government response to COVID-19, and an additional $5 billion to replace bridges and tunnels on the Northeast Corridor, new fleet, infrastructure improvements throughout Amtrak’s national network, and major station improvements.

Business remains at about 25 percent of pre-COVID levels, Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn wrote in the letter.

Based on Amtrak’s current forecast, FY 2021 ridership and revenue are projected to improve to about 40 percent of pre-COVID levels.

“To manage this situation, Amtrak will work to adjust its operating and capital spending plans during this short-term CR, with the aim of minimizing further impacts on our customers and employees. However, if the FY 20 funding level is extended beyond Dec. 11, 2020 and supplemental funding has not yet been provided, we will be unable to avoid more drastic impacts that could have long lasting effects on our Northeast Corridor infrastructure and the national rail system,” Flynn wrote.

The rail service faces the prospect of having to cut 2,400 additional jobs, on top of the 2,000 already cut earlier this month.

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