Funding Amtrak Service In Colorado Facing Budget Problems

Colorado could lose Amtrak service if the president continues to refuse funding the troubled rail system in the 2005–2006 federal budget. Transportation Secretary Norman Manetta says the administration is not trying to bankrupt the train service, but get people to listen.

He says last year the administration submitted reform legislation to Congress, but there has been no action on the proposal. Under that proposal, Amtrak would continue to operate the train engines and cars, while states would maintain rail infrastructure with the help of 50% matching funds from the federal government.

Any state not participating in the program would lose train service, but State Representative Bernie Buescher, (R) Grand Junction, says under that plan Colorado would lose Amtrak service because the state can't afford it with the state's current budget problems.

Manetta says if the administration wanted to kill off Amtrak service it would refuse all attempts to fund it and drop its' proposal for joint state–federal Amtrak funding. Amtrak supporters vow to fight for continued funding for the rail service.

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