June 15, 2005 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted 266-158 this week to increase Amtrak funding by $214 million. While still short of the total funding Amtrak needs to adequately maintain the nation’s passenger rail infrastructure or expand service, the extra money avoids the complete shutdown of Amtrak being pursued by the Bush Administration. Amtrak serves 25 million rail passengers and has nearly 20,000 employees.
The clear majority vote for the LaTourette-Oberstar amendment giving Amtrak more funds reflects support for rail service in America. Now, Congress should act to give Amtrak adequate funding to do more than barely survive each year.