Aug 06 2002
WILMINGTON, DE - Senator Tom Carper today expressed his support for continued use of high-speed trains along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and said that greater investments in infrastructure could unlock the trains' potential. Carper's comments came after Amtrak President David Gunn acknowledged problems with the Acela Express and a new study showed wide-ranging public support for continued federal funding of Amtrak. "We should not be surprised that the most sophisticated train ever created for this country has been having some mechanical problems. Cars, trucks and vans are recalled every month. When new commercial airliners and military aircraft are rolled out, there are problems as well," Carper said. "This is not surprising. What is surprising, to me at least, is the growing support for national passenger rail. High speed trains must be part of that future," Carper said. The Washington Post released yesterday a survey of American's attitudes about Amtrak and passenger rail and the results were overwhelmingly positive, with a clear majority of the country favoring continuing federal support of Amtrak. Carper believes that the funding debate over Amtrak must expand beyond operating expenses to include a dedicated source of capitol funding to renovate the dilapidated infrastructure that is limiting trains like the Acela Express' potential. "The Acela Express can go so much faster than the existing infrastructure allows. We've got one of the most modern trains in the world running on infrastructure dating back in some cases to World War II and through tunnels dating back to the Civil War," Carper said. "The trains cannot reach maximum speed and passenger rail will not maximize its potential until we make necessary capital investments in track beds, signal systems, overhaul and repair shops," Carper said.