Subject: Re: Amtrak/Via rail journey in 2006

You should be aware of some risk involving Amtrak's future. Amtrak is heavily subsidized by the US government. During ongoing budget discussions, the Bush administration has expressed great dissatisfaction with Amtrak's continuing and heavy financial losses ($600 million in 2004). They want to change the way Amtrak operates and eliminate the subsidy. Right now, Amtrak cannot survive without federal aid.

However, yesterday a House of Representatives committee unanimously approved legislation to authorize $6 billion over three years to fund Amtrak. Undoubtedly, there will be some give and take between now and October when the budget is finalized.

My advice is to go ahead and make travel plans. But try to put off buying Amtrak tickets as long as possible and have a back up plan in case Amtrak cuts back on its service. Here is a website hosted by Amtrak supporters that is constantly updated with news -

Mark in Los Angeles