Amtrak announced Tuesday it has requested another $1.475 billion in bailout funding from the United States government to avoid service cuts and route suspensions as a result of reduced demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
While the rail company received $1 billion in emergency funding in April, Amtrak officials said the continued impact of the viral pandemic on business has forced them to reduce operating costs by approximately $500 million.
Amtrak plans to cut costs through restructuring its workforce and controlling discretionary expenses. The funds would be used to maintain minimum service levels and continue capital investments for the future.
“As the severity and duration of this pandemic and its economic fallout become clearer, we are seeking supplemental federal funding for the next fiscal year,” Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said in a letter to congress.
“It is clear that Amtrak faces daunting challenges in Fiscal Year 2021, which will require us to take action to protect our rail network, our critical capital assets, and the livelihoods of our employees,” Flynn continued.
Even with the government assistance, Amtrak revealed it still plans to extend service cuts, as social distancing guidelines will continue to capacity limits as travel demand returns. Flynn also said the railroad faces “daunting challenges” that will require the company to take action.
Amtrak officials said revenue for the next fiscal year is expected to fall by $1.6 billion and to run a $1.4 billion loss after it nearly broke even last year. Employee expenses are expected to be cut by $350 million.
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