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The Latest: Schumer says agreement gives Amtrak extra money

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/05/2017

NEW YORK — The Latest on Amtrak's plans for major repairs this summer to tracks and other equipment at New York's Penn Station in the wake of recent train derailments (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

Congress is giving Amtrak a funding boost that should help it make repairs to aging infrastructure at New York's Penn Station as well as up and down the Northeast Corridor.

Democratic New York Sen. Charles Schumer said Tuesday the bipartisan budget agreement gives Amtrak $1.495 billion, a $105 million increase over last year and the highest total since 2010.

A $328 million federal grant will go toward Northeast Corridor work.

Two recent derailments and other problems at Penn Station persuaded Amtrak to replace aging tracks and other equipment at the station over the next several months. The work originally was to have been completed in two to three years.

A preliminary plan obtained by The Associated Press Tuesday outlined six weeks of potential service disruptions for commuters. The plan isn't finalized.

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1:40 p.m.

Amtrak says it will meet again with Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit representatives to discuss a preliminary plan for service cutbacks at Penn Station in New York City this summer due to extensive repair work.

The station is the nation's busiest, and it has been the site of two recent derailments and other problems that caused major delays for hundreds of thousands of commuters.

An Amtrak spokeswoman says meetings were held with the commuter railroads Monday. More are scheduled for Thursday. A finalized plan could be announced as soon as next week.

A preliminary plan obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday calls for six weeks of what Amtrak calls "significant service impacts" spread over July and August.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the Long Island Rail Road, says it wants riders' best interests represented.

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10:45 a.m.

Rail commuters would face about six weeks of significant service disruptions this summer under a preliminary plan to make repairs at New York's Penn Station.

In documents obtained by The Associated Press, Amtrak describes work scheduled between July 7 and July 25 and again between Aug. 4 and Aug. 28 as causing "significant service impacts" and requiring service adjustments.

The plan is being negotiated with the Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit, which also use the nation's busiest rail station.

Aging equipment has been blamed for recent delays including two derailments.

The proposal was panned Tuesday by New Jersey legislators who said it doesn't take advantage of the July 4th and Labor Day weekends to minimize impact on commuters.

Other repairs will be performed during weekend hours through next spring.

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