Sunday, November 27, 2005

2006 Amtrak Budget Likely to be Approved, This Means Things Look OK for Philly-NYC Commuters in 2006

Budget Gives Amtrak Carrots, but Wields Sticks as Well
Nov 26, 2005

Congress passed a budget Nov 18 just before they broke for Thanksgiving; the highlights and in italics are how this impacts my commute from Philadelphia to NYC:
  1. The $1.31 billion Amtrak subsidy is a sprawling bill covering the Department of Transportation and unrelated departments like Treasury and Housing and Urban Development and the judiciary. This means Amtrak will continue to run in 2006, which is good.
  2. This budget could threaten Amtrak's ability to serve meals to passengers. I don't buy food on the train, no big deal to me.
  3. It gives the transportation secretary the power to raise the price Amtrak charges commuter railroads, like New Jersey Transit, for their use of the Northeast Corridor tracks, which Amtrak owns. Anything that could prevent future fare increases for me is good, so I think this is good for Amtrak commuters.
  4. Seeks to limit Amtrak's ability to discount tickets and reduce the airline-style pricing that the railroad has been using. This is lame, legislating pricing is bad, could make monthly passes and 10 trip passes more for me.
  5. Likely to pass as Bush has yet to veto a bill. This is good as I'd like to see the bill passed as it will keep Amtrak running in 2006.


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