A report to Congress today recommends Amtrak be dismantled to let the free market work and improve the nation’s passenger train system. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he’s not sure he can follow the recommendations of the congressionally appointed Amtrak Reform Council, which says Amtrak is irreversibly flawed.We need a national rail system. Breaking it up would mean Iowa and other states lose their passenger train service. Harkin says Amtrak is being held down by contradictory laws and faced trouble from its creation in 1971. He says Congress told Amtrak to make a profit, but then said they have to serve areas where they don’t make money.Last week, Amtrak said it will cancel long-distance routes, including two that run through Iowa, unless it gets one-point-two billion dollars in next fiscal year’s budget, which begins in October. President Bush has proposed 521-million for Amtrak, the same amount as the last three years.Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell says he’ll worked to keep Amtrak running through the state. Boswell says he supports a national rail system with continued federal support.He says it shouldn’t be surprising that we have to subsidize rail travel, as we have to subsidize other forms of travel. Boswell says it’s a national need and he will support it. Boswell is on the House Transportation Committee.
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