Biden and Carper Testify on the Urgent Need for Investment in Amtrak

WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to improve safety and security measures for the nation’s railways and provide American travelers with improved passenger rail service, Delaware Senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper recently joined with Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) in introducing the Railroad Advancement and Infrastructure Law of the 21st Century (RAIL-21). In addition to providing Amtrak with emergency security assistance, RAIL-21 will provide funds to help add new tracks, build better trains and create a “true national passenger rail system.” Testifying before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on the importance of investing in passenger rail, Senator Biden stressed the need for a balanced national transportation system. One that provides safe, reliable alternatives to air and highway travel. “With the tragedy of September 11 etched in our minds, no one can reasonably doubt that securing our railroads should be part of our Homeland Defense, and that it should be as high a priority as securing our airports. We saw what can happen when our transportation infrastructure is compromised,” said Biden. “I have always believed that a robust rail system is an essential part of a model and efficient transportation network. Rail travel cuts down on wear and tear on the roads, reduces pollution, saves time and increases productivity.” “One key feature of this bill is that it eases pressure on Amtrak to begin turning a profit by next October,” Carper said. “Amtrak has never really been given the capital it needs. This bill recognizes Amtrak as a part of our national transportation system, instead of an unwanted stepchild.” Stressing the need to address the long term future of Amtrak, Senator Biden, noted that: “Every traveler knows all too well the congestion and delays plaguing America’s highways and airports, and the added burden we will impose on those strained facilities unless we make the full commitment to integrate modern rail travel into our transportation infrastructure. The funding provided by this bill would be used to build a national passenger rail system that would benefit Americans all over the country.” “Now more than ever, America needs safe, reliable transportation”, Carper said. “If we can spend money to protect America’s planes, we ought to spend the money to protect America’s trains.” Both Senators Biden and Carper are regular passenger commuters on Amtrak.