Created: 02/04/2014 2:13 PM
By: Barry Massey, The Associated Press
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A legislative panel has approved a proposal to study whether New Mexico should pay part of the costs for keeping Amtrak's Southwest Chief route, but lawmakers are reluctant to immediately commit money for maintaining and improving the track.
The House Transportation and Public Works Committee on Tuesday agreed to a measure allocating $150,000 for a study of the costs and benefits of New Mexico joining with Colorado and Kansas to each provide about $4 million annually for a decade to preserve the Amtrak line on its current route. Potential legal issues also would be examined.
Amtrak has warned that some communities in the states could lose passenger rail service if the rail operator fails to reach a new operating agreement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe by 2016 for track maintenance.
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