Reports to Congress

A Reexamination of the Amtrak Route Structure

  • 01
  • May
  • 1978
SUBJECT: Evaluation
KEYWORDS: Amtrak, Route Structure, Route Recommendations
ABSTRACT: In 1970, th e Rail Passenger Service Act was enacted into law, and on May 1, 1971, federally sponsored intercity rail passenger service began. The Act, which envisioned limited interim Federal funding, had as its objective the improvement of deteriorating rail passenger service and the establishmen of such service as a profitable operation . The results of seven years of operation are mixed. Amtrak has improved and increased rail passenger service but, instead of becoming profitable, its losses are increasing rapidly . The limited Federal funding which was envisioned has become continuous and large. Disturbed by Amtrak's ever-increasing deficit, the Congress has requested the Department to undertake a reexamination of the Amtrak route structure. This report is the Department's response to the Congressional request. It contains the Department's preliminary recommendations for a new Amtrak route structure and presents sufficient background information and data to permit a careful evaluation of chose recommendations by the Congress and the public. It also introduces and discusses a series of policy related issues regarding the operation of the Amtrak system -in the hope that there will be sufficient public comment on those issues to provide the Department with valuable guidance in formulating the final Amtrak route structure recommendations. The recommended system presented in this report is considered to be "preliminary," in anticipation of passage of legislation authorizing the route system implementation process and because the Department desire to have benefit of public comment before providing the Congress with final recommendations.