Carper: President Holds Amtrak’s Future in his Hands

WASHINGTON, DC – With Amtrak’s future hanging in the balance, Senator Tom Carper joined his colleagues today in calling upon the President to support $205 million in funding in the FY 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Bill. It is essential that the President either support a $205 million appropriation or grant Amtrak a loan guarantee to avoid a shutdown, Carper said. At a press conference this morning, Democratic Senators joined Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle in urging the Administration to act swiftly to keep trains running through the summer travel season. “The Administration needs to step up to the plate, recognize their responsibilities and act upon them. With the announcement of a restructuring plan-which is not so much a restructuring plan as it is one that would cause the rail’s demise- The White House may have hindered Amtrak’s ability to negotiate private loans. Amtrak needs immediate funding to get through this year,” Carper said. “Barring a firm commitment from the President, Amtrak is headed for a train wreck.” Carper is a past member of Amtrak’s Board of Directors and helped secure 52 signatures on a letter to the Senate Appropriations requesting $1.2 billion to be allocated to Amtrak for FY03. Text of today’s letter to President Bush is attached.