Senate budget writers have agreed to a $555 million boost for Amtrak that should allow the national railroad to move forward with its financial recovery plan.

The transportation subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voting Wednesday on $47.5 billion worth of transportation proposals for the 1999 federal budget, also approved $27 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $9.85 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration and $5.36 billion for the Federal Transit Administration.Among other proposed spending is $2.1 billion for airport improvements and $200 million for the Appalachian Development Highway System, a road network covering Appalachia.

The $555 million appropriation could spare Amtrak from having to siphon money from a $2.2 billion pot created last year to help it make long-term capital improvements. Those improvements are considered crucial for Amtrak to meet a deadline for becoming self-sufficient by 2002.