Amtrak backers are trying to engineer a deal in Congress to at least maintain funding for the railroad’s operations. The U.S. House is scheduled to discuss the transportation appropriations bill this week, and Congressman Leonard Boswell, a Democrat from Des Moines, opposes the plan which would end service in some of the cities along Amtrak’s route through southern Iowa. “There’s a lot of shortfalls in the funding for Amtrak that I can assure you and your listening public that I’m joining with others to try to restore that funding to Amtrak,” Boswell says. President Bush has called for a dramatic reduction in federal subsidies for Amtrak, which is owned by the government. Boswell says such dramatic cuts can’t be justified. “My gosh, look what we spent on airlines over the past few years and a lot of people because of the times we live in are relying more and more on rail so we’ve got to amend this,” Boswell says. He’s optimistic that Amtrak funding won’t be cut. Boswell says as he talks with his colleagues in Congress, many say Amtrak funding should not only be maintained but increased.
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