Happening Now

Hotline #783

July 23, 1993

H.R.2490, the 1994 DOT appropriations bill, is now expected on the House floor next week, after July 26. Representative Tauzin (La.) still plans to offer an amendment transferring $20 million from Amtrak operations to the Coast Guard. Although it is too bad that Transportation Appropriations Chairman Carr (Mich.) no longer opposes this amendment, Representative Blackwell (Pa.) recirculated his letter of opposition, signed by 23 other Representatives from across the nation. A close vote is expected and phone calls against the Tauzin amendment are still helpful, at least on July 26 and 27. The Capitol switchboard is 202/224-3121.

Before going to the floor, H.R.2490 has to go back through Carr's subcommittee again. So Carr may simply work in the lower Tauzin figure for Amtrak right there. Please tell your Representative the goal is to preserve Carr's original $351 million for Amtrak operations, and that a floor vote might take the form of an amendment to restore $20 million rather than to cut it.

Also, if your Representative is on Carr's subcommittee, and you can call the morning of July 26, urge him to oppose any subcommittee action cutting Amtrak funding.

As for the Thruway bus program, it appears that Carr has agreed to a change in the wording of his bill that eliminates the threat to this program. Reps. Lynn Schenk (D.-Cal.) and Richard Lehman (D.-Cal.) have been working hard on that.

Due to flooding, the California Zephyr is running non-stop between Omaha and Chicago on the Chicago & North Western, with delays. The Burlington route may reopen around July 28. The Southwest Chief is running only west of Kansas City and may be restored to Chicago in early August. The Illinois Zephyr still terminates in Quincy. The Texas Eagle is experiencing delays due to a detour between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff. The Houston section is being protected by bus because of the delays. All other trains are running, but may be subject to delay from heavy freight traffic.

The California Legislature passed SCR6 on July 16, which creates a new Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission. The Commission is charged with creating a 20-year plan for high-speed rail in California and for initiating construction on the first line, San Francisco-Los Angeles, by 2000.

A new Amtrak station will open at Commerce, Cal., on July 28. It is on the San Diegan line between Los Angeles and Fullerton.

A Clinton Administration commission examining the health of the airline industry said it opposes re-regulation, but would give airlines several tax breaks, including on fuel. The commission's final report to Transportation Secretary Pena is due August 20.

When the ICE completes its national tour, it will go into revenue service on the Northeast Corridor. It will run as trains 112 and 223, October 5-29; trains 112 and 123 November 1-December 17 (except Thanksgiving); and Saturdays as trains 206 and 221 on October 23, November 6, November 20, and December 11. It will not run in revenue service at the same time as the X2000, for which the renewed revenue service pattern ends September 24.

The X2000 leaves Washington on July 26 at 1:00 am en route to Canada. It will be moved by Canadian Pacific north of Perryville, Md. There will be equipment displays July 27 at Windsor, Ont., July 28 at Toronto, July 29 at Ottawa, July 30 at Montreal, and July 31 at Quebec. The ICE is getting more exposure, with a few media runs this week, and Amtrak board and Congressional runs next week, all on the Northeast Corridor.