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Amtrak reforms proposed

By By Steve Swogetinsky/The Meridian Star
March 19, 2001
The Amtrak Reform Council will propose Tuesday that the national passenger rail service be placed under control of a single government entity.
Gil Carmichael of Meridian, chairman of the Amtrak Reform Council, said the report will be the beginning of an effort to reorganize Amtrak and obtain proper funding.
The report suggests two major changes.
First, it would create a single government entity to oversee Amtrak and shield it from political meddling.
The second part of the plan would put Amtrak's focus on the trains  not the rails.
In addition to running its passenger service, Amtrak also develops and maintains its tracks and corridors.
The passenger rail service would maintain the name Amtrak. A sister agency under a new name would be created to deal with issues surrounding the tracks and corridors.
Amtrak President George Warrington received a preview report last week. He was critical of the council's recommendations according to wire reports over the weekend, claiming it would only create a new federal bureaucracy.
Steve Swogetinsky is regional editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at sswogetinsky@themeridianstar.com.

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