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Amtrak Chief Says Subsidies Are Essential

February 24, 1985|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The chairman of Amtrak said Friday that there is no way the passenger railroad could continue operations if federal subsidies were eliminated as proposed by the Reagan Administration.

"I don't think there's anything you can do except shut everything down," W. Graham Claytor Jr. told a news conference.

Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole earlier last week insisted during appearances before congressional committees that elimination of Amtrak subsidies would not mean an end to passenger rail service and that a combination of state, local and private sources of financing would emerge in some parts of the country.

But Claytor, in a detailed analysis of what he said would happen to rail passenger service if subsidies ended, said he has seen no signs of such sources of financing available and insisted that Amtrak would go bankrupt without federal support.

He said labor protection costs covering 25,000 workers that would become unemployed would total $2.1 billion over six years, including $645 million in the first year.

The same labor costs, he said, would prevent the railroad from shrinking its operations to highly traveled areas such as the Northeast Corridor.

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