The stimulus package isn’t getting any better in the Senate. According to the New York Times (H/T to the Transport Politic), a compromise amendment with the goal of lowering the cost of the stimulus may cut Amtrak’s allocated $850 million.
Unfortunately, it looks like the targets of the cuts are going to be capital investment projects and not the tax cuts tacked on in the Senate. That’s bad news for schools, transit, and especially intercity rail. Thanks to their powerful lobby, highway money isn’t in any trouble.
Although the mention of Amtrak cuts seems to have been removed from the NYTimes article, Progress Illinois quotes it like this:
Anxious over the ballooning size of the proposed economic stimulus package, now at more than $900 billion, lawmakers in both parties are working on a last-minute plan to strip tens of billions of dollars from the bill. [...]
Among the initiatives that could be cut are … $850 million for Amtrak.
Let’s hope this isn’t the case. Contact your senators to remind them that, at some point in the past year, we were promised change. This stimulus bill has involved a lot of sweating for those advocating non-auto transportation. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that things don’t get entirely derailed in the senate.