News Releases

(WASHINGTON, D.C) -- Late Friday, the Bush administration finally announced the outline of a deal to keep Amtrak running until the end of September. Unfortunately, the Bush proposal will add $100 million to Amtrak's $4 billion debt.

Sen. Patty Murray released the following statement:

"The deal announced tonight by the Bush Administration is a classic case of good news-bad news. The good news is that passenger rail service will continue. The bad news is that service will continue for only three months, at which time Amtrak will be deeper in debt and facing another bankruptcy crisis.

This has been a torturous process for Amtrak's riders, employees, and the tens-of-thousands of daily rail commuters. To wake up every morning wondering whether their train will be running or if they can get to work on their commuter line has been an avoidable and unnecessary burden.

The crisis of public confidence in the Administration's commitment to Amtrak is further fueled by the President's half-baked, half-a-loaf proposal for Amtrak's 2003 budget.

Congress is ready, willing and able to enter into the debate on Amtrak's long-term future. But in order to have a seat at the table, the Administration has to get real when it comes to Amtrak's true financial needs. As Amtrak's C.E.O. testified before my subcommittee last week, President Bush's budget of $521 million means certain bankruptcy by this fall even with reforms.

The Administration may choose to borrow against the future, but piling more loans on top of Amtrak's $4 billion debt is not a formula for ensuring rail service in this country. This Administration is like an irresponsible college student with a credit card – they can charge their vacation, but have no mind toward paying it off.

When Congress returns next Monday, I intend to press for a direct appropriation for Amtrak's urgent needs so that Amtrak does not find itself even deeper in debt come October.

It is my sincere hope that the Administration will learn from this fire drill and come back to the Congress with a real proposal that will not guarantee another crisis three months from now."