May 26 (UPI) -- Passenger railroad service Amtrak on Tuesday asked Congress for an additional $1.5 billion in federal funds to help it maintain operations amid the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amtrak CEO and President Bill Flynn said that if the company does not receive an additional $1.475 billion in supplemental funding for the fiscal year 2021, the company will be forced to make service cuts and suspend some routes.
"As the severity and duration of this pandemic and its economic fallout became clearer, we are seeking supplemental funding for the next fiscal year," said Flynn.
The company said it is taking "significant steps" to reduce its operating costs by about $500 million to offset the impact of revenue losses due to the coronavirus.
It plans to temporarily reduce train capacity to match demand, restructure its workforce and control discretionary expenses.
Amtrak received $1 billion in emergency funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Emergency Services Act in April.
The company said it was on pace to break even financially for the first time in its history as of the first quarter of fiscal year 2020 but has seen "a dramatic decline" in demand since the onset of the pandemic and only expects ridership to return to about 50 percent in the next fiscal year.
"The $1.475 billion is in addition to Amtrak's $2.040 billion annual grant request submitted to Congress earlier this year, and without this support, Amtrak will be unable to minimize the impacts to service and its workforce as described in the letter," Amtrak said.