Federal Amtrak Spending Would Be Halved Under Trump Budget

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump is proposing to cut in half the federal subsidy for Amtrak, the troubled national passenger rail service that has experienced three fatal crashes in the past two months.

Under a spending plan released Monday, the Trump administration proposed cutting the federal contribution from $1.495 billion to $738 million in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Revenue on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor -- including Boston, New York and Washington -- has been strong in recent years, according to the budget. But the railroad continues to subsidize money-losing long-distance routes elsewhere in the country.

To lower the burden on the federal budget, the administration proposes that states begin sharing the costs of Amtrak service. “This would make states more equal partners with the federal government, and would strengthen the responsiveness of Amtrak to the communities they serve,” the budget said.

Amtrak said in a statement that its ticket sales and other revenue cover 94.7 percent of total network operating costs.

“While we have not yet seen the details, we are concerned that any dramatic cuts could negatively impact the more than 31 million people who depend on Amtrak across the nation, in 46 states and more than 500 communities large and small,” it said in the statement.

A similar request for Amtrak cuts by the Trump administration last year wasn’t embraced by Congress and there’s little indication that will change this year.

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