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House Republican budget plan would eliminate all state-supported Amtrak service

(Source: Amtrak press release, September 8, 2011)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite record-breaking Amtrak ridership and strong support for intercity passenger rail by 15 states, the House Republican transportation budget plan will effectively eliminate all state-supported Amtrak service across the country for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

The FY 2012 Transportation-HUD House Appropriations Subcommittee budget proposal offered by the Majority prohibits the use of federal funds provided to Amtrak to fund any operating costs of state-supported trains. If enacted by the full Congress, it will eliminate nearly 150 weekday state-supported trains and negatively impact the more than nine million passengers who ride those trains each year and the communities they live in.

“The House Republican plan is shortsighted and is the wrong policy for America,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “It will result in the loss of jobs and reverses significant progress made to use passenger rail to reduce U.S.dependence on foreign oil.”

“The GOP plan penalizes states that have made investments in passenger rail, some of which have contributed toward costs for nearly 40 years,” said Amtrak board chairman Tom Carper. “It kills an engine of local and regional economic growth much needed today, harms the future economic vitality of the nation and is unnecessary.”

Under legislation passed by Congress in 2008, Amtrak is working cooperatively with its state partners to develop a common methodology to shift more of the operating and capital costs of state-supported trains to the states.

“The Republican proposal forces an unwelcome decision on states who clearly want to preserve and expand passenger rail service,” Carper stated.

The 15 states which provide state-supported Amtrak service are: California, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Friday, September 9, 2011

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