Carper Blasts Bush Administration for Proposed Amtrak Cuts

White House Proposal Unworkable and Irresponsible, Carper Says

WASHINGTON (Feb. 2, 2005) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., issued the following statement after today’s news accounts that the White House will propose eliminating Amtrak’s operating budget for upcoming fiscal year: “This is an irresponsible proposal by the administration and it will never fly in Congress. At a time when gas prices are going up and congestion is getting worse, it makes absolutely no sense to propose eliminating Amtrak as we know it and hand over its duties to untested railroads that wouldn’t be able to do the job. The economy on the Northeast relies heavily on Amtrak, and the administration’s approach will negatively affect businesses and everyday travelers. This budget proposal is a non-starter in Congress. Last year, Congress budgeted more for Amtrak than the president did, and I expect that we’ll end up doing that again. Those of us who support Amtrak in Congress know how important it is for our constituents and we will always fight to make sure it stays in operation. Unfortunately, this attack on Amtrak shows that the administration has no real plan for reforming the railroad other than a vain attempt to undermine it. If the administration is serious about tackling Amtrak reform, then it should work with Congress to provide new funding streams to keep the Northeast Corridor running smoothly and allow states to invest in new and existing rail lines across the country. A healthy Amtrak would be better for our congestion problems, the economy, our energy concerns and the environment.”