WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amtrak on Friday threatened to discontinue all long- distance train service in October if Congress doesn't give it $1.2 billion in the next budget year.
The national passenger railroad, facing a possible restructuring by Congress, said it will cut staff by 4 percent and make cuts in hiring, training, advertising and supplies.
"Everyone knows that you can't make a profit while running a network of unprofitable trains but that is exactly what we are expected to do," said Amtrak President George Warrington.
Amtrak said service will not be affected in the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30.
Amtrak plans to lay off 700 workers and cut costs elsewhere to trim what it says is a $200 million shortfall this year, according to two sources knowledgeable about the moves, who asked not to be identified.
The sources said Amtrak began broaching the idea of cuts in long-distance trains to members of Congress on Thursday. That prospect likely would get the attention of lawmakers, many of whom would be loath to accept any reduction in service to their states.
Amtrak is under growing pressure to improve its finances. The congressionally appointed Amtrak Reform Council will recommend next week that the government break up Amtrak and open passenger rail to competition.
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