Plan Would Shift Costs to States, Possibly Diminish Service
Jul 29 2003
WASHINGTON, DC - Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., a former governor and Amtrak board member, released the following statement on the administration's plan to reauthorize the nation's passenger rail service. The White House proposal, to be introduced today, restructures Amtrak into three separate companies, transfers Amtrak's Northeast Corridor to the states, provides insufficient grants for capital improvements, and forces states to assume the burden of the railway's operating losses within six years. "I'm disappointed with the administration's proposal to reauthorize Amtrak. The White House bill offers no concrete dollar amounts and fails to guarantee Amtrak a predictable capital funding source, thereby denying passenger rail the strong financial footing the U.S. government provides highways and aviation projects." "Instead, the administration would shift much of the cost of providing intercity passenger service to the states, which are already experiencing record deficits and are in no position to assume additional responsibilities such as this." "Such a proposal could spell the end of Amtrak's national network, a reduction of passenger train service across our country and a loss of mobility at a time when we need more travel options to protect our national and economic security and to help mitigate congestion and reduce pollution." "Taking its cues from a discredited proposal advanced by the Amtrak Reform Council in 2002, the White House proposal would divide Amtrak into three separate entities to manage train operations, rail infrastructure, and corporate responsibilities, while replacing the current national network with regional systems funded primarily by the states. Such a proposal introduces unnecessary complexity and uncertainty into Amtrak's business model. This could hurt efficiency and safety, while costing taxpayers more." "The White House plan could mean diminished service in my state of Delaware and the end of intercity passenger rail service for many parts of our nation."