BOSTON (SHNS) – Amtrak will need to cut 2,400 more jobs and could see “drastic impacts” on its rail service if Congress does not intervene and provide emergency funding for the passenger rail provider, the company announced Thursday.
In a letter to lawmakers, Amtrak President and CEO William Flynn requested nearly $4.9 billion in fiscal year 2021 to help it close massive budget gaps it faces amid the pandemic. Like more local and regional transit agencies across the country, Amtrak’s ridership has declined sharply during the public health crisis, lingering around 25 percent of pre-COVID levels and forecast to rise only as high as 40 percent over the course of FY21.
“To manage this situation, Amtrak will work to adjust its operating and capital spending plans during this short term CR, with the aim of minimizing further impacts on our customers and employees,” Flynn wrote. “However, if the FY 20 funding level is extended beyond December 11, 2020, and supplemental funding has not yet been provided, we will be unable to avoid more drastic impacts that could have long lasting effects on our Northeast Corridor infrastructure and the national rail system.”
Insufficient funding would force Amtrak to cut about 775 capital project jobs and another 1,625 from its state partners as a result of less frequent train service.
The company also called for another $5.2 billion in an “economic recovery” proposal that included replacing fleets, work on Northeast Corridor and national network infrastructure, and station improvements.