Your weekly source of fresh takes on news affecting America's passengers. See also the RPA Blog.

Hotline #781-A

The House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, chaired by Bob Carr (D.-Mich.), voted this morning to accept the Tauzin amendment transferring $20 million from Amtrak operations to the Coast Guard. Rep. Lucien Blackwell (D.-Pa.) may distribute a "Dear Colleague" letter to all House Members protesting this action. Please encourage pro-Amtrak Representatives to contact Blackwell and offer to co-sign his letter and vote for any floor amendment that may be offered to reverse this morning's act

Hotline #781

Due to flooding, the California Zephyr and Southwest Chief are not running between Chicago and Denver or Kansas City. People starting trips on those segments will not get alternate transportation. Earlier, the California Zephyr ran on the Chicago & North Western. That is now closed, too, but may reopen sooner than the Burlington route. Amtrak says present conditions are likely through early next week, maybe longer. Flooded-out St. Louis-Kansas City trains should resume on July 10. The Illino

Hotline #780

The House did not consider H.R.2490, the 1994 DOT appropriations bill, this week and is not expected to take it up until the week of July 19. This gives you time to write to your Representative in opposition to the amendment Rep. Billy Tauzin (D.-Cal.) is to offer cutting Amtrak's operating figure $20 million -- from $351 million to $331 million and transferring the $20 million to the Coast Guard. The address is House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515. House-Senate conferees reached agre

Hotline #779

The House plans to consider H.R.2490, the 1994 DOT appropriations bill, on June 29. There may be an amendment from Rep. Billy Tauzin (D.-La.) cutting Amtrak's operating figure by $20 million -- from $351 million to $331 million, transferring the $20 million to the Coast Guard. Please urge your Representative to vote and work against this or any similar amendment. The Capitol switchboard is 202/224-3121. This clear Amtrak vs. Coast Guard vote may be a first -- the Coast Guard could be a powerful

Hotline #778

The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures holds a June 22 hearing on, among other things, a proposal by Rep. Mel Reynolds (Ill.) to create an intercity passenger rail capital trust fund, using one cent (or about $30 million a year) of the 2.5 cents railroads pay on fuel that now goes to deficit reduction. The railroads seek instead to be relieved of this tax. NARP Executive Director Ross Capon will testify -- strongly supporting creating a trust fund, but dealing gently wi

Hotline #777

The House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday approved a 1994 DOT funding bill. It has $351 million for Amtrak operations, nothing for new 403(b) service, $100 million for Amtrak capital, and $130 million for NECIP -- a 40/90 split between on-going projects and Boston electrification. This year's House numbers are higher than what the subcommittee approved a year ago. The Amtrak operations figure is $20 million higher than what was enacted for 1993, but Amtrak capital and NECIP

Hotline #776

Senate Appropriations is expected to mark up the 1993 supplemental appropriations bill with Amtrak money in it on June 8; floor action could follow within a day or two. House Appropriations may mark up the 1994 transportation funding bill as early as the coming week. A statement from a House Ways and Means subcommittee, from June 2, announces plans for a series of hearings on "miscellaneous revenue issues," beginning June 17. Among the items listed for a future hearing is a proposal to place on

Hotline #775

The House approved H.R.2244, a $931-million summer-jobs package with $51 million for Amtrak, on a vote of 287-140, yesterday. That bill had been approved by the Appropriations Committee on May 24. Of the Amtrak money, $30 million is an operating grant to help cover the recession-induced revenue shortfall and $21 million is expected to continue the capital overhaul program in Indiana and Delaware at current levels through September 30. Senator Dole has expressed support for the bill and Senate ac

Hotline #774

The Amtrak supplemental funding proposal referred to last week is still working its way through the OMB. The Administration is looking for offsets, but is interested in the concept and is expected to present a proposal to House Appropriations soon. The energy tax approved by House Ways and Means last week is in trouble. Three members of the Senate Finance Committee -- Born, Breaux, and Danforth -- plus Senator Cohen, are trying to kill it and replace it with spending cuts. Amtrak, as usual, cou

Hotline #773

Since the Administration now seems committed to some additional 1993 funding for Amtrak, the Appropriations committees have allowed a temporary reprogramming of $10 million to permit heavy overhauls to continue for two months. That kept Amtrak from giving out one-week notice of furloughs today to over 450 workers at Beech Grove and in Delaware. Actual supplemental funding depends on the Administration offsetting cost reductions in other programs. The House Ways and Means Committee, on a party-l