Sen. Carper Responds to Proposed Cuts to Passenger Rail Funding

Delaware would lose millions in cut funding

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) objected to House Republicans’ proposed cuts to high speed and intercity passenger rail funding, which would result in Delaware losing $2.25 million to construct a new train station in Newark. Delaware would also lose $13.3 million awarded to construct a third track between Wilmington and Newark, which would extend SEPTA trains to Newark and ease congestion for Amtrak.

Sen. Carper also expressed concerns that the bill would gut Amtrak’s budget with cuts that would lead to furloughs of roughly 200 jobs in Delaware, including stopping nearly all work at the Wilmington and Bear shops. Nationwide, the Republican’s bill would result in the loss of nearly 300,000 private-sector jobs. Amtrak would have to cut 1,600 employees and halt numerous programs that enhance the experience of the consumer, including e-ticketing and wireless Internet on trains. These cuts will have a debilitating effect on Amtrak’s capital program, including maintaining the Northeast Corridor, which Amtrak estimates costs $5 billion just to keep the trains and track from further degradation.

“As Congress begins work on the fiscal year 2012 Federal budget and completes work on funding for the rest of fiscal year 2011, our challenge is to strike the right balance between reducing spending to close our massive deficit while still providing the resources needed to ensure that the American economy can continue to recover in the short-term and prosper in the long-term,” said Sen. Carper. “I thought President Obama’s budget found this balance in his 2012 budget for high speed and intercity rail service. Our nation’s railways are an investment in our nation’s future, and will keep us competitive in the global economy. Passenger rail creates jobs, improves air quality, eases congestion on our overcrowded roadways, and reduces our reliance on foreign oil.

“Unfortunately, House Republicans fail to see the importance of passenger rail,” continued Sen. Carper. “Their funding bill would make draconian cuts to passenger rail that will hurt Delaware and our country. Our recovering economy cannot afford to suffer those jobs losses, and we can’t allow our rail system to fall into further disrepair.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues and the Administration to find a more reasonable approach that reduces unnecessary spending but doesn’t jeopardize our economy. By striking the right balance we can protect jobs in Delaware and across the country and still provide the necessary funding for passenger rail and investments in our nation’s infrastructure. These efforts will help provide more access and better results for Delawareans and riders across the country.”