A Reawakening for Rail Cities get back on board

| February 27, 2002 Issue

A Reawakening for Rail: Cities get back on board, Jane Holtz Kay, Elm Street Writers Group
Despite criticisms that the nation's rail company is a "money-losing" system that should be dismantled, Amtrak is not yet dead, says Jane Holtz Kay of the Elm Street Writers Group. A report out this month from the Amtrak Reform Council was biased, asserts Kay, who points out that the "money-losing" moniker would be applied to any institution forced to survive on a paltry $520 million in help from the government, while nearly $46 billion was appropriated to other forms of transportation. Even with little funding, though, Amtrak ridership rose 4 percent last month and their new Acela line showed a $180 million profit. "The best-kept secret is that Amtrak is making money," says Michael Dukakis, chairman of its board. Amtrak has until December to make itself solvent or it must disband, which Kay says is a financial situation not demanded by any other government or transportation agency.
--Kate Garsombke
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