House Appropriations Sub-Committee Proposes $550 Million for Amtrak
The House Appropriations transportation subcommittee passed a bill that would provide Amtrak only $550 million for Fiscal Year 2006. The deep cuts proposed by this committee would mean killing all cross-country trains. Funding at this level would slash Amtrak’s operating budget by more than half. It goes further by limiting federal rail subsidies to $30 per passenger per ride.
Reaction to this was swift and negative. Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) said, “cuts would mean the elimination of our national passenger rail system.” Click here to read Congressman Oberstar’s statement
Congressman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) stated “It is extremely disappointing that this subcommittee has decided to bow to the Bush administrations demand to gut Amtrak.”
TCU President Robert Scardelletti reacted strongly by stating, “It is totally unconscionable that this subcommittee would turn its back on the 20,000 Amtrak workers and their families. If passed, this bill would mean the end of Amtrak and leave the United States as the only industrialized nation in the world with no national rail passenger service. TCU will fight this bill with everything that we have.”
Even Amtrak’s President David Gunn in an employee advisory wrote, “the practical impact of $550 million in federal support would be the same as zero funding for Amtrak, and they (Congress) know it. It can’t run a single train from point A to point B – not on the Northeast Corridor and not anywhere.”
While the fight for Amtrak funding is far from over, the fact of the matter is that we face a bitter uphill battle and will need the help of all TCU members—both active and retired to help in the fight. We urge you to write to your Senators and Congressman and ask them to support $2 billion for Amtrak funding and to support a national rail passenger service.
The fight is now!