Rockefeller, Lautenberg Lead Effort to Reject Republican Cuts to Passenger Rail Service and Amtrak

March 3, 2011

Acela TrainWASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) and Surface Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) today called on Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to protect funding for Amtrak, high-speed rail corridors and intercity passenger rail service, which are under attack by House Republicans. Lautenberg is the author of the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act to enhance Amtrak and broaden the passenger rail programs. 

“The nation needs a world class passenger rail system to help power the economy and keep people moving efficiently, and safely,” said Rockefeller. “The House’s short-sighted budget cuts would reverse the great progress we’ve made and hinder the job growth our rail industry supports. This cannot happen. A modern passenger rail network offers a real solution to the energy, environmental, and transportation congestion problems we face in the 21st century and we should continue to make investments in this infrastructure which will create jobs and make our rail system top notch.”

“The House Republican plan would cause the loss of jobs and create crippling congestion in New Jersey,” said Lautenberg. “In New Jersey, thousands of rail passengers who use the Northeast Corridor every day would be affected by more service disruptions and longer commutes. At a time when we need to create jobs and improve rail access, the Republican plan would take commuters out of trains and ensure that more cars would pack our already congested highways.”

The letter from Rockefeller and Lautenberg was cosigned by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).  

The text of the letter is below.