Carper Decries Senate Defeat of Amendment to Restore Amtrak Budget

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2005) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., issued the following statement following defeat of an amendment to the fiscal 2006 Senate budget resolution to restore Amtrak’s budget. The amendment would have called for a budget of $1.4 billion for Amtrak, after both the president and the Senate Budget Committee endorsed zeroing out the federal investment in the national passenger railroad. The amendment died on a 46-52 vote. “I’m deeply disappointed in today’s ill-advised and short-sighted vote. With this amendment, we had a chance to send a strong signal that we were opposed to the administration’s plan to bankrupt Amtrak. Sadly, many of my colleagues, even those who have publicly supported Amtrak in the past, let that chance go by. We may be able to restore money for Amtrak later this year when we take up annual spending legislation, but that fight just got a whole lot tougher. I can assure you, however, that we will fight to keep the trains running and Amtrak in operation. What’s most disappointing to me is that the fight should not be over keeping the trains running. It should be over how we can develop a national passenger-rail policy for this country. Instead, we are forced to spend our energies addressing a funding crisis created by the White House. Given our dependence on foreign oil, the congestion we see on our highways and the need to improve our air quality, we should be investing in rail, not turning our back on it.”