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Amtrak's FY 2008 Budget Needs

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On February 28, David Tornquist, Assistant Inspector General for Competition and Economic Analysis, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing & Urban Development regarding Amtrak's FY 08 budget needs, the railroad's recent efforts to improve its financial condition, and alternatives for financing intercity passenger rail. The Assistant Inspector General testified that Amtrak would need $465 million in FY 08 for cash operating losses, $600 million for capital spending, and $285 million for debt service to operate its nationwide system while staying focused on needed reforms. As Amtrak revises its revenue and expense estimates during the year, our estimate may also change. Increased investment in intercity passenger rail must go hand-in-hand with improved operating efficiencies, the Assistant Inspector General stated. Additionally, Amtrak needs to finalize and implement route restructuring, cost recovery, and labor reforms.