Amtrak Warns of Layoffs and Project Delays Without Billions in Assistance

The chief executive urged senators to pass legislation that includes more than $2 billion in emergency funding for the rail agency.


By Pranshu Verma

WASHINGTON — Amtrak’s chief executive warned federal lawmakers on Wednesday that the rail agency would have to continue steep cuts to its work force and delay infrastructure improvements — including high-profile projects in New York and New Jersey — if it does not receive $2.8 billion in emergency funding by December.

In a hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, William J. Flynn said his agency might have to cut an additional 2,400 jobs and divert funding from critical capital projects, such as the multibillion-dollar tunnel between New York and New Jersey — called the Gateway program — and improvements to New York Penn Station.

His total budget request to Congress is $4.9 billion. That includes the rail agency’s $2 billion standard appropriation.

Mr. Flynn urged Senate lawmakers to pass a version of the Heroes Act, which cleared the House on Oct. 1 and includes $2.4 billion in emergency funding for Amtrak. In September, lawmakers passed a continuing resolution that kept the rail agency’s existing funding levels in place until Dec. 11.

“Given that nothing’s been enacted, we must be prudent and address the situation at hand,” Mr. Flynn said.

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