Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Senate measures TODAY would kill long distance trains

This item moved to NARP members, but I can not find it on the group’s web site anywhere. Would it not seem that such an urgent bit of business would need to be prominently displayed?

Here is what I took off an online discussion group.

The Amtrak reauthorization bill came up on the Senate floor late yesterday. It will be on the floor today (Thursday). Debate today begins at 10:30 AM Eastern. A 12:30 vote is planned on a Sununu (R-NH) amendment which could be the first of many nasty ones (including, apparently, one by Coburn, R-OK).

Sununu would kill all trains that lose over $200 a passenger after a certain time. So this kills the long-distance network and doesn’t even use a rational basis (like revenue-to-cost ratio or loss per passenger-mile). Of course, the network is so skeletal that removing just about any individual route would have significant harmful
network impacts.

Phone calls this morning to Senate offices should urge votes against this and any other anti-train amendments. Most senators probably know an anti-train amendment when they see one. However, they can assume that an amendment is anti-train if Senators Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Lott (R-MS) do not both accept said amendment as friendly.

When you phone and ask for the staff person, you may be offered voice-mail. Accept it and leave a substantive message. Do NOT rely on the staffer’s ability to return your call in a timely manner.

Your message could go like this: “Please support S. 294 and please vote against the Sununu per passenger subsidy cap amendment-a wolf in sheep’s clothing-and any other anti-train amendment that is offered.”

You can reach any Senate office by calling the Capitol Hill
switchboard 202-224-3121. If you are on-line, your senators’ direct-dial number and web site are at this link.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

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