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Urgent meeting to explore future of Amtrak service.

City officials whose communities and states are affected by cutbacks in Amtrak service are invited to participate in a special meeting on Saturday, March 11, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Lincoln West Room of the Washington Hilton Hotel in conjunction with NLC's annual Congressional City Conference.

Mayor John Robert Smith of Meridian, Miss., a member of NLC's Transportation and Communications steering communities, will host the special session. Smith said "The future of Amtrak is at stake. This meeting will provide a forum for Amtrak-served cities and towns to share ideas and develop a vision about what our national passenger rail system should look like in the future."

"Amtrak needs a stable and reliable revenue stream, especially to support its capital needs. It would be penny-wise and pound-foolish to allow this vital piece of our national transportation infrastructure to wither away or be dismantled piece by piece. The support and cooperation of federal, state, and local governments is needed to create the strong, viable Amtrak our nation needs for the 21st century," Smith added.

Amtrak, created in 1971, directly serves more than 500 cities and towns in virtually every state in the continental U.S. In December, Amtrak announced major budget cuts and the termination of one-third of its least profitable routes to cope with a projected $200 billion shortfall. Despite these cuts, the longterm funding outlook for Amtrak is uncertain. In DOT's proposed FY96 budget, Amtrak would for the first time compete against other national transportation programs for more limited funds.
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Title Annotation:municipal officials may attend a meeting to discuss reduced Amtrak services, as part of the 1995 Congressional-City Conference
Author:Fletcher, Jeff
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 13, 1995
Words:256
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