GOP Plan for Amtrak Called Unconstitutional

The ranking Democrat of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee says the Republican plan to privatize Amtrak is unconstitutional.

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) says it violates the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. “It is also likely that the proposal violates the Takings Clause because it takes Amtrak’s private property without just compensation,” said Rep. Rahall. “As a for-profit corporation, I believe Amtrak’s standing is little different than that of any other for-profit corporation in America.”

The privatization bill, introduced by Republican Representative John Mica (R-FL), would remove Amtrak from under the control of the federally-designated Northeast Rail Corridor and transfer that control to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Congressman Mica claims private operators would run the system much more economically.

But Transportation Communications Union (TCU) International President Robert Scardelletti says the proposed legislation has little to do with saving money – and everything to do with lining corporate executives’ pockets with more federal dollars and getting rid of union wages and benefits.

“Privatization sounds good to the anti-government Republican majority,” said Scardelletti in a letter to TCU Amtrak members. “But the truth is that so-called privatization is a sham. It’s a naked attempt to shift federal money to private operators, while keeping taxpayers on the hook to underwrite their profits.

“Why would these new operators operate at lower cost than Amtrak? Because they would get rid of you and your union! The new operators would not be covered under the Railway Labor Act. They would not be covered under Railroad Retirement. There would be no C-2 protection. Short and simple, they would be non-union, low-paying, minimal-benefit operations.”

Help save Amtrak by taking action. Click here to send a letter to your Congressperson. Tell them to say “NO” to the Mica-Shuster “Competition for Intercity Passenger Rail in America Act.”