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      House panel keeps Amtrak funding

      JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri House budget writers have decided to spare Amtrak passenger service from cuts in state spending.

      Missouri's proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes $8.6 million for Amtrak service in the state.

      Several lawmakers have suggested paring or eliminating the funding in light of the state's revenue crunch. One House member says the Amtrak funding should be spent instead on boosting aid to school districts for buses.

      Proponents of the Amtrak funding say trains are the future of mass transit and should be supported by the state.

      The House is expected to debate the budget next week.

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