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Why do European business travelers have a 30-minute jump on us? Well, one reason is the amount we’re willing to invest. The U.S. Senate is proposing to spend just $11.4 billion to keep the entire nationwide Amtrak network running for the next six years. And even that level of funding is a political hot potato. When Trent Lott, the right-wing Mississippi Republican, is on the same side of a funding debate as Frank Lautenberg, the left-wing New Jersey Democrat, you know for sure that Amtrak is a party-bending, policy-warping, money-eating conundrum.

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