The platform approved by Republicans at the recent GOP Convention calls for the elimination of funding for Amtrak, passenger rail service, privatizing airport security screening “wherever possible” and stopping the use of money earmarked for highway construction for other purposes.
The more than 30,000-word document was approved on the first full day of the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. It includes many provisions that were pushed by Republicans in the House during recent negotiations over the new $105 billion transportation bill that was approved by lawmakers in June.
The GOP platform takes strong aim at cutting Amtrak in particular, which has been a frequent target of Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“Amtrak continues to be, for the taxpayers, an extremely expensive railroad,” the GOP platform says. “The public has to subsidize every ticket nearly $50. It is long past time for the federal government to get out of way and allow private ventures to provide passenger service to the northeast corridor. The same holds true with regard to high-speed and intercity rail across the country.”
“This measure places the entire GOP squarely against Amtrak in the upcoming elections,” said TCU President Bob Scardelletti. “Amtrak is the keystone of passenger travel across the country and needs to be supported and maintained not zeroed out. TCU will continue to fight for our hard working members on Amtrak and for the millions of travelers that these measures would affect.”
Congressman Mica Still out to End Amtrak
In a recent interview, Congressman John Mica (R-FL) said, “I’m still on a holy jihad to try to get Amtrak’s operations under control.”
Mica said he plans to keep the pressure on Amtrak through the lame duck session of Congress, following up a pre-recess hearing on Amtrak’s food and beverage service with two more hearings. One of them will be related to the way Amtrak competes with private contractors, and another will be on Amtrak’s money-losing routes that require subsidies.
“Congressman Mica continues to set his sights on Amtrak,” said TCU President Bob Scardelletti. “This election is so important for everyone at Amtrak, Mica and the rest of the GOP have made it clear that getting rid of Amtrak is a priority in this election.”