(July 2) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Now that Amtrak’s demise has been averted for the immediate future, the rail company and the federal government have begun to look at long-term changes that must be made if the company is to survive.

On June 29, an agreement was reached to help Amtrak get the $200 million it needs to stay in business through September. Now, both sides must find a way to settle their differences on the future of rail travel.

Amtrak chairman John Robert Smith told The Associated Press that Amtrak now must “craft a bold vision for passenger rail that will serve all of the regions of this country.”

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, meanwhile, has proposed an end to federal subsidies to intercity passenger rail, a move that could hurt trains that serve many states but would have little effect on long distance trains and the refrigerated carrier service ExpressTrak LLC.

Amtrak has said it needs $1.2 billion to stay on track through September 2003. The Bush administration, however, is holding on to its initial proposal of $521 million. That money was offered in March after Amtrak threatened to shut down if it didn’t get the money it needed.

Amtrak officials have called that offer “chump change,” insisting it is nowhere near enough to fix the problems facing the rail system.

The administration maintains that if Amtrak wants more money, it is going to have to make significant changes before it will receive more help.

Making those reforms won’t be easy. The rail company already will have to pay back the $100 million loan that is part of the deal agreed to in June. In addition, the company has an estimated $3.85 billion debt.

Conditions of the loan from Congress state that Amtrak must spend its money during the next 15 months exclusively on existing assets and services, not expansion of services. In addition, Amtrak has to identify $100 million in budget cuts by the end of August.

Furthermore, the conditions state that Amtrak must freeze all management salaries and suspend annual bonuses for this year for anyone making more than $75,000.