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An interview with D.J. Stadtler, CFO of Amtrak

(The following appeared on the CFO Magazine website on April 1, 2011.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama devoted a portion of his January State of the Union address to the subject of high-speed rail transport, and the following month Vice President Biden announced a 6-year, $53 billion plan to invest in it. The Administration's long-term goal is to make high-speed rail service available to 80% of the nation's population within 25 years.

While cheered by rail enthusiasts and mass-transit advocates, this vision faces a funding battle in a Congress desperate to show voters that it can rein in government spending. Some states are rebelling, too; governors in Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio have rejected $3.6 billion in federal funding for new passenger-rail lines, precipitating a scramble among other state governors eager to take their share.

Amtrak, the $2.5 billion government-owned railroad that carries the bulk of the nation's rail passengers, faces multiple battles of its own, including aging cars and infrastructure, and a continuing reliance on government subsidies. Despite these challenges, Amtrak finance chief D.J. Stadtler, who assumed the post in February 2009 after a career divided between government service and his family's central Virginia engineering firm, says good things are happening at the nation's passenger-rail company.

The full story is at www.cfo.com.

Friday, April 1, 2011

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