Congressman Ernest Istook backs off plan to cut Amtrak funding

Thursday, July 24th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Washington-AP) -- Under pressure from fellow House members, Representative Ernest Istook has decided to back off his plan to slash funding to Amtrak, rural air service and a program that pays for bicycle trails.

Istook has rewritten the transportation funding bill to give Amtrak 900 (M) million dollars for the next fiscal year, up from the 580 (M) million dollars he had first allocated.

The Bush administration had requested the new sum, which is still half of what Amtrak says is necessary.

To increase funds for some of the projects, Istook had to cut his allocation to highways by about 800 (M) million dollars.

Istook's revised bill is scheduled for a vote today in the full Appropriations Committee.

Istook's press secretary, Micah Swafford, says the bill was revised to try to address House members' concerns so the bill could be passed out of committee.