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Hillary Clinton on Amtrak – are good words enough?

Statement of Senator Hillary Clinton on Full Senate Approval of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2007

October 30, 2007 — “The passage of this critical legislation is truly a great achievement. For New Yorkers, Amtrak is not just a commodity, but a life source. Passenger rail is an essential element of our transportation network that provides irreplaceable capacity and mobility to New York and the nation. For the past near seven years, we have had to fight the Administration’s constant attempts to privatize and dismantle our nation’s premier passenger rail service, Amtrak. Eliminating Amtrak service would be an economic disaster and an irresponsible policy.

Today, as gas prices continue to climb and airline delays are at an all time high, Amtrak not only provides a necessary and affordable alternative to our congested airways, it links commuters to local locations not serviced by the airline industry. The enactment of Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2007 will end the stop-gap funding process for Amtrak, and will provide the traveling public with the security of a comprehensive plan for improving our nation’s passenger rail system.

No country in the world has ever developed and maintained a successful passenger railroad system without assistance from their national government. Without offering an alternative, President Bush has aimed to simply shut down passenger rail in the U.S.

This plan will authorize $19.2 billion in federal funds for Amtrak by providing $3.2 billion over the next six years, and will allow Amtrak to make critical repairs and improvements to its service. Funding under the PRIIA will allow Amtrak to implement a comprehensive plan that will enhance rail security, reduce train delays, and improve customer service. It will also provide sufficient funding and direction to bring the Northeast Corridor up to a “state-of-good-repair,” including vital tunnel life safety work in the Hudson River Tunnels.

In recent years, attempts by Congress to improve and modernize Amtrak’s operations were stalled by the Republican-controlled House, and earlier this year the President proposed cutting $493 million, more than 38 percent of Amtrak’s operating funds. This sort of backwards thinking would have severely jeopardized Amtrak’s ability to serve their passenger lines in New York and throughout the Northeast.

In the State of New York, Amtrak operates 140 routes, employs more than 1,900 people, and has two of the top ten busiest stations in their rail system. Amtrak is an integral part of our transportation infrastructure and continues to service parts of the state that need the influx of tourists, business travelers and others. The future without Amtrak for New York would be devastating.

I am proud that the full Senate has rejected the Administration’s approach to Amtrak. As an original co-sponsor of this legislation, I commend Senator Lautenberg and Senator Lott for their leadership in steering this critically important legislation through the United States Senate. I am pleased that my colleagues have voted overwhelmingly to continue to provide critical funding for Amtrak, and I look forward to when this legislation is signed into law.”

Source: Senator Hillary Clinton


Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

3 Responses

  1. Well at least she has answered some of my questions to her website indirectly as it were. There was not much said about service outside of New York, but she did refer to a necessary National System. I disagree with her on a lot of things, but as long as she is just a teeny bit pro-rail she has my vote.

  2. […] Hillary Clinton (D-NY) observed in October: “…airline delays are at an all time […]

  3. WILEY CLARK says:


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October 2007


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