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US-based passenger railroad service Amtrak has sent a letter to US Congress requesting $1.475bn in supplemental funding for the next fiscal year.
This financing is expected to be used for maintaining the minimum service levels on its network and future capital investments.
Additionally, the funds will be used to aid its ‘17 state partners on the National Network and nine commuter and state partners on the Northeast Corridor’.
In the letter, Amtrak president and CEO Bill Flynn said: “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.”
To offset the losses in revenue, Amtrak has implemented different measures to decrease the operating costs by around $500m.
The measures include a temporary reduction in train capacity according to demand, workforce restructuring, and control of discretionary expenses.
However, the company still requires extra funding for FY2021.
Flynn added: “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.”
In the first quarter of this fiscal year, Amtrak expected that it would have a ‘record-breaking year’.
Due to the pandemic and reduced passenger demand, Amtrak expects the ridership in FY2021 to return by around 50%.
This additional funding is in addition to the $2.040bn annual grant request that was submitted earlier this year.
In the absence of the support, Amtrak has stated that it will not be able to reduce the service and workforce impacts.
Last month, Amtrak received $1bn in federal funds as it faces an unprecedented drop in ridership due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The emergency aid was allocated by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
This article first appeared on www.railway-technology.com
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