Amtrak to furlough 2,000 employees in October, members of Congress urge to stop it

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Illinois Congressman Daniel Lipinski says he’s upset by how Amtrak is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Amtrak’s announcement that they will furlough over 2,000 employees on Oct. 1 is extremely disappointing,” Lipinski said.

Lipinski says his fellow lawmakers need to act.

“Congress needs to act quickly to prevent furloughs and avoid long distance service cuts,” Lipinski said.

Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn says a billion dollars in funding from the CARES Act helped them stay afloat, but the company is still losing money.

“We’ve managed to survive these difficult times for [fiscal year 2020]. But, unfortunately, our ridership and revenue are still down more than 80 percent,” Flynn said.

Amtrak is now requesting about $4.9 billion to keep their employees working and trains running.

“As difficult as these actions are, if we do not take such cost-saving measures and fail to receive supplemental funding, we anticipate burning nearly $250 million each month,” Flynn said.

Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry says he is skeptical of the rail service’s financial request, after examining their earnings.

“The total expenses for FY 19 were $4.198 billion. Can you explain why is this such a vast difference? To me, I mean, that’s a lot of money,” Perry said.

Amtrak says the expenses from the previous year do not reflect their current needs to address revenue shortfalls.

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