Issues for Reauthorization

T-RCED-95-132: Published: Mar 13, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1995.

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GAO discussed issues pertaining to Amtrak's reauthorization, focusing on: (1) Amtrak's likely revenues and expenses over the next few years; (2) its effort to improve efficiency; (3) potential changes to the scope of Amtrak's mission; and (4) potential cost savings through legislative changes governing labor protection. GAO noted that: (1) Amtrak expects to increase its market share of the Northeast Corridor by implementing its high-speed rail service; (2) to realize these and other expectations, Amtrak will need about $5 billion in capital funding through the year 2010; (3) compensating the freight railroads for their liability exposure in accidents involving Amtrak passenger trains could increase Amtrak's costs; (4) the freight railroads and Amtrak want Congress to enact legislation that would reduce their potential liability; (5) Amtrak plans to implement other cost-saving initiatives such as reducing train and engine crews; (6) even with cost reductions, Amtrak expects to experience a shortfall of $1.3 billion through 2000; and (7) if this additional funding is not provided by the federal government, consideration should be given to reexamining Amtrak's mission and its current route system.

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