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House Press Release on Saving Amtrak 3/20/97 - Train travel, model railroading, railfan and railroad industry information including Amtrak train travelogues, railroad photographs, model train building tips and more.
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House Press Release
on Saving Amtrak 3/20/97

From:	crocon@connix.com
Date:	3/20/97  4:11:14PM
Subject:	House Press Release on Saving Amtrak 3/20/97

Dear Friends of Amtrak:

The following was released to the press today by Chairman Shuster and
members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Craig O'Connell
Friends of Amtrak



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MARCH 20, 1997 CONTACT: Jeff Nelligan, Director
of Communications, 202-225-9446 SPECIAL ATTENTION: AMTRAK


"The plain fact is this: Without decisive action very soon, the country
will have no inter-city rail service within a few months," says Shuster

WASHINGTON -- Stating that "Without decisive action very soon, the
country will have no inter-city rail service within a few months.,"
Congressman Bud Shuster (R-PA), today announced the formation of a
bipartisan panel of experts to assist in developing an emergency plan to
address the continuation of inter-city rail service. Shuster is Chairman
of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; joining him at
a press conference were Ranking Democratic Member James Oberstar (D-MN),
Subcommittee on Railroads Chairwoman Susan Molinari (R-NY), and Ranking
Democratic Member Robert Wise (D-WV).

"The central purpose of this `blue ribbon panel' we are assembling will
be to provide ideas, suggestions and options to the Committee, in order
to formulate a plan of action to address the current crisis in
inter-city rail. We want original thinking from the best experts we can
find, we want non-political expertise, and we want them to present all
the options they can envision. While we do not expect any formal votes
or a formal report, we will be interested in both their individual
judgements and the areas where they can reach consensus. We believe that
an informal, less-structured arrangement of this type is the most likely
to produce genuinely original ideas the can form the basis of bipartisan
legislative solutions."

"I believe it is clearly evident to all interested parties that Amtrak
is in extremely serious trouble and band-aids are simply not going to do
the job anymore. The March 12th hearing by the Railroads Subcommittee
vividly demonstrated -- by testimony from no less than Amtrak and by the
Government Accounting Office -- that Amtrak, even under optimistic
assumptions, cannot survive the next fiscal year. The company is already
borrowing to meet payroll costs and even Amtrak's own business plan will
require exhausting all available lines of credit by the middle of Fiscal
Year 1998."

"Congress has been faced with claims of an Amtrak `crisis' many times in
the past. This is the final crisis: the alternative is a Penn
Central-style bankruptcy, with all of the chaos and unpredictability
that comes with a bankruptcy and a complete shut down."

"We are putting the finishing touches on the actual appointment of the
panel Members and should have a definitive list very soon," concluded

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