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Intercity passenger rail : Amtrak's financial viability continues to be threatened
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    NTL-ECONOMICS AND FINANCE-Rail Economics and Finance
  • Abstract:
    Amtrak's financial condition is still very precarious and heavily dependent on federal operating and capital funds. We previously reported that Amtrak's financial condition had deteriorated steadily since 1990 and that Amtrak was unlikely to overcome its financial problems without significant increases in passenger revenues and/or subsidies from federal, state, and local governments. In response to its deteriorating financial condition, in 1995 and 1996 Amtrak developed strategic business plans designed to increase revenues and reduce cost growth. However, we have found that in the past 2 years, passenger revenues, adjusted for inflation, have generally declined, and in fiscal year 1996, the gap between operating deficits and federal operating subsidies began to grow again to levels exceeding that of fiscal year 1994, when the continuation of Amtrak's nationwide passenger rail service was severely threatened. At the end of fiscal year 1996, the gap between the operating deficit and federal operating subsidies was $82 million.
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