May 26, 2020 Amtrak: Supplemental Funding Needed to Maintain Minimum Service Levels

WASHINGTON – Amtrak submitted a letter to Congress outlining an additional $1.475 billion in supplemental funding needed in FY 2021. This additional funding is necessary for Amtrak to operate minimum service levels across the passenger rail network and continue capital investments for the future. The funds would also support Amtrak’s 17 state partners on the National Network and nine commuter and state partners on the Northeast Corridor. 

“As the severity and duration of this pandemic and its economic fallout become clearer, we are seeking supplemental federal funding for the next fiscal year,” said Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn in the letter.  

To help offset the impact of revenue losses, Amtrak is taking significant steps to reduce its operating costs by approximately $500 million, including temporarily reducing train capacity across our system to match demand, restructuring our workforce, and controlling discretionary expenses. Yet even with these steps, Amtrak still requires additional federal investment in FY 2021.  

“It is clear that Amtrak faces daunting challenges in Fiscal Year 2021, which will require us to take action to protect our rail network, our critical capital assets, and the livelihoods of our employees,” said Flynn in the letter. 

With strong ridership and revenue levels in the first quarter of FY 2020, Amtrak was on track for another record-breaking year. However, Amtrak, like all other modes, has seen a dramatic decline in demand for service since the pandemic, and is expecting ridership to only return to approximately 50% in FY 2021. The $1.475 billion is in addition to Amtrak’s $2.040 billion annual grant request submitted to Congress earlier this year, and without this support, Amtrak will be unable to minimize the impacts to service and its workforce as described in the letter. 

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