Amtrak says it needs another $1.5 billion bailout to survive the coronavirus crisis
Amtrakwas on the brink of breaking even financially for the first time ever before the coronaviruspandemic hit.
- Now, the federally subsidized railroad says demand has fallen to just 5% of previous volumes.
- To make up for the revenue shortfall, Amtrak needs another $1.5 billion bailout from Congress, it said in a letter Tuesday.
U.S. passenger railroad Amtrak told Congress in a letter made public Tuesday it needs another $1.475 billion bailout or it will be forced to make sweeping service cuts and likely suspend some routes.Amtrak, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, in April received $1 billion in emergency funding from Congress as part of the CARES Act. In its bid for further aid, the railroad said it will reduce its operating costs by approximately $500 million including restructuring its workforce and controlling discretionary expenses.
Current demand is about 5% of the usual ridership, the railroad said. So far, it's been able to avoid cutting routes altogether. In many cases, Amtrak has instead pared service to a bare minimum while eliminating some duplicative services, like the Acela higher-speed service on the Northeast Corridor. Now, more routes are set to be cut.
Even with the proposed rescue package from Congress, Amtrak says nearly all long-distance services will be reduced to fewer than one train per day "to match capacity" with the sheer dropoff in ticket sales."Without this funding, we will be forced to make even more severe adjustments to our workforce, train services, and commitments to critical capital projects than those described above," Amtrak said in the letter. Here's Amtrak's full letter to Congress:
Amtrak Supplemental FY21 Funding Letter to Congress Final Signed 5 25 20 (Text)Read the original article on Business Insider
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