Happening Now

Hotline #783-A

July 27, 1993

H.R.2490, the 1994 DOT appropriations bill, which last week was suddenly sent back to committee, was re-released today. In a major blow to Amtrak, the Appropriations Committee incorporated into H.R.2490 the Tauzin amendment transferring $20 million from Amtrak operations to the Coast Guard. That cuts Amtrak operations to $331 million -- $20 million below the total Amtrak got for 1993 and well below the level that Amtrak says would force service cuts. However, thanks to hard work by Reps. Lynn Schenk (D.-Cal.) and Richard Lehman (D.-Cal.), Chairman Carr's anti-Thruway bus language has been dropped.

The bill is expected to return to the floor on July 30. Although Rep. Lucien Blackwell (D.-Pa.) has received assurances from some Appropriations members that Amtrak would get additional funds in conference, he is keeping his options open; an Amtrak-related floor amendment remains a possibility.

The flooding situation changes each day. Our latest information has the California Zephyr running between Denver and Chicago on Union Pacific and Chicago & North Western, stopping at Omaha, with delays. The Southwest Chief again is not running east of Albuquerque, though the Santa Fe is now open east of Kansas City. The Illinois Zephyr still ends in Quincy. The Texas Eagle is running between Chicago and Little Rock on Illinois Central and Union Pacific through Cairo and Memphis.