WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following reaction to the proposal by some House Republicans to privatize high-speed rail service on the Northeast Corridor:
"President Harry Truman once said, 'The only thing new in this world is the history that you don't know.' That quote could easily be applied to proposals that seek to privatize rail service on the Northeast Corridor.
"Prior to Amtrak, private companies controlled passenger rail service for over 100 years, but they pleaded to be excused from providing passenger rail service in the Northeast Corridor and across the country because they couldn't make a profit. That's why Amtrak exists today.
"Amtrak has operated passenger rail service on the Northeast Corridor since 1971 and it is part of the lifeblood of our regional economy. Amtrak service allows convenient, affordable travel for passengers throughout the Northeast, helping passengers save money on gas while also reducing traffic on our roads and highways as well as harmful air pollution.
"Everything I do, I know I can do better, and as a former Amtrak Board Member, I know the same can be said of Amtrak. That being said, Amtrak is not broken and I am not convinced that this proposal is the correct solution to Amtrak's challenges.
"Even in the current economic environment, Amtrak continues to set ridership records. Can they do better? Sure, there's always room for improvement but Amtrak's on the right track. They are currently taking steps to incorporate private investment into their business model and they should do so where it makes sense. I applaud Amtrak for these steps, but I am concerned that the proposal announced today could ultimately be counterproductive for those of us who live and work in the Northeast Corridor."