Briefs

Briefs

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

The Senate nominated Robert Crandall, Floyd Hall and Louis S. Thompson to the Amtrak board of directors. The board, which sets Amtrak policy and oversees management of the rail system, is made up of seven members appointed to five-year terms by the president. Amtrak President David Gunn is a nonvoting member and Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta is an ex officio member. Also on the board are Chairman David M. Laney and Vice Chairman Sylvia DeLeon. House and Senate negotiators recently approved a $1.225 billion funding package for Amtrak in fiscal 2004 which has yet to be voted on by the full House and Senate.

Repeal of the 4.3 cent-per-gallon fuel tax came another step closer to reality last week when the energy bill, in which the tax is included, passed the House. It awaits a Senate vote. Railroads assert the tax is unfair because the amount they pay goes into a general fund, while the amount paid by trucks and airlines supports funds set aside specifically for highway and aviation trust funds. Railroads estimate that repeal of the tax would save the industry roughly $177 million per year.