U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, applauded today’s Senate confirmation of Mayor Christopher Koos, Anthony Coscia and Joel Szabat to be members on the Amtrak Board of Directors.
“I applaud today’s confirmations of Mayor Christopher Koos, Anthony Coscia, and Joel Szabat and look forward to the work they will do to enhance the passenger experience and improve reliability,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Amtrak’s service is essential for travelers all across the country and provides an economic boost to the rural and urban communities it serves, including along the Amtrak Cascades, Empire Builder, and Coast Starlight in the Pacific Northwest. As travel continues to rebound, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investments will allow Amtrak to purchase new railcars, improve stations, and upgrade tracks. The new board members will help ensure these investments are spent wisely and benefit the entire nation.”
The Senate has not confirmed an Amtrak nominee since 2015. President Biden nominated Mayor Christopher Koos, Anthony Coscia and Joel Szabat in 2022. The Commerce Committee most recently held a nomination hearing on June 21, 2023, and the nominees passed out of the Committee on October 18, 2023. Koos and Coscia appeared twice before the Committee, with their first nomination hearing held on September 7, 2022. Amtrak is governed by a ten-member Board of Directors, including the Secretary of Transportation, the President of Amtrak and eight individuals appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Amtrak's Board of Directors sets policy and oversees the management and strategic direction of the company.
Due to Sen. Cantwell’s leadership, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided $58 billion for passenger rail, including $22 billion for Amtrak – the largest bipartisan investment in passenger rail in history. Following the pandemic route cancellations, Sen. Cantwell urged the Amtrak CEO and director nominees to commit to the full-service restoration of the Amtrak Cascades route. Due to her advocacy, the Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. service has been open since September 2022. And in March 2023, Sen. Cantwell announced that a second daily trip was restored, bringing service back to pre-pandemic levels. Recently, in December 2023, Amtrak fulfilled another promise to Sen. Cantwell and added two more daily roundtrips between Seattle and Portland for a total of seven daily round trips.