Amtrak Reform Council Finds
Amtrak Will Not Achieve Self Sufficiency:
Reorganization and Liquidation Plans Due

Text of Finding Resolution

Amtrak Reform Council

Reforming National Passenger Rail Service for the Riders and Taxpayers

Washington (9 November 2001): The Amtrak Reform Council voted 6-5 today for a finding that Amtrak (the National Passenger Rail Corporation) will not achieve operational self-sufficiency by December 2002.

Under the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act (ARAA), Amtrak was required to survive without operating subsidies by December 2002. The Act established the Amtrak Reform Council, which is composed of 11 members appointed by the President and the minority and majority leadership of both houses of Congress. The Act required the Council to make the finding at any point it determined that Amtrak would not achieve self-sufficiency by December 2002.

The vote was a follow-on to action taken at the Amtrak Reform Council meeting on 26 October in Atlanta. At that point a motion was made by Council Vice-Chairman Paul M. Weyrich and seconded by council member Mayor John Norquist of Milwaukee to draft a proposed finding to be circulated to members for a vote. That vote, which had been expected earlier, was taken today.

Under the law, the Amtrak Reform Council has 90 days to submit to the Congress a plan for reorganizing passenger rail, while Amtrak is required to submit a plan for liquidation to the Congress. The action will not impact employees or service in the near future.

Some members who voted against the motion expressed the view that the timing was wrong and that a finding would be more appropriate in January. In a somewhat dramatic development, the Council deadlocked with a 5-5 vote. At the suggestion of council member Wendell Cox, the vote was held open so that Mayor John Norquist, who had been required by a previous engagement to leave his conference call connection could vote. The Council reconvened after a short recess and the Mayor listened to arguments on both sides. In the end, Mayor Norquist voted to support the finding, not finding the arguments compelling to the effect that further delay was appropriate.

Council member Wendell Cox later expressed the view in a press interview that he agreed with council members who thought the timing was wrong. "The finding should have been made months ago," Cox said. Other council members expressed the view that the outcome of the finding would be improved passenger service and value for money for taxpayers.

Under the law, the Council will immediately notify the President and the two houses of Congress of the finding.

The vote of council members was:

Votes of Council Members on the ARC Finding Motion
Council Member Appointing Authority Vote on Finding When Appointed
Gil Carmichael (Chairman) Senate Majority Leader NO 1997
Bruce Chapman Speaker of the House YES 1997
Nancy Connery Senate Majority Leader YES 2000
James Coston Senate Minority Leader NO 2000
Wendell Cox Speaker of the House YES 1999
Chris Gleason Speaker of the House YES 1997
S. Lee Kling House Minority Leader NO 1997
Mayor John Norquist President YES 1997
Secretary of Transportation Statutory NO 1997
Charles Moneypenny President NO 2000
Paul M. Weyrich (Vice-Chairman) Senate Majority Leader YES 1997

For the Finding 6
Against the Finding 5
Motion Passed:
ARC Statutory Finding Enacted

(c) 2001 --- Wendell Cox Consultancy --- Permission granted to use with attribution.
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